What’s In The Needles?
What’s In The Needles?
One of the most common questions I’m asked as an acupuncturist is, “What’s in the needles?” To which I love to reply, “The medicine, is in your body.”
You see, unlike the hollow, hypodermic needles that are used when we get a shot or have blood drawn, acupuncture needles are completely solid and so thin that they are only about the width of one or two of the hairs on your head. When we place these at specific points in your body, we aren’t putting anything in; rather we are opening up the reservoirs of endorphins, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and immune boosting properties that reside within you. This capacity to heal is always there though often obscured by the high stress and demanding schedules of modern lifestyles.
Most of us are accustomed when something is out of balance or we feel unwell to seek relief from external sources. However, there are few outside forces that are as powerful and innately wise as the healing potential which exists within our very own bodies. Especially when we find ourselves beset by the many unspoken struggles of life, chronic pain, or overwhelmed by the seemingly endless series of unfortunate events we see in the news, it makes particular sense to turn our attention inward.
Venerable Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh writes:
“Whenever animals in the forest are wounded, they rest. They look for a very quiet place and just stay there without moving for many days. They know it’s the best way for their body to heal. During this time they may not even eat or drink. The wisdom of stopping and healing is still alive in animals, but we human beings have lost the capacity to rest.”
I am often reminded of this quote when a patient comes to me thanking me for the relief they have gotten from the treatments, or the thrilling news that they have finally conceived. It is my absolute pleasure to respond, “You did that.” Turns out, you’re pretty amazing.
It appears me to me that in this world of constant stimulus, striving, and desire, there is a palpable curative power in simply being, silently allowing space to rest and heal. Once aware of its existence, this sanctuary is always available to you. For many of my patients, that time spent alone on a table in a quiet room with tiny pins in their arms and legs offers just that.
So, next time you find yourself in a state of “dis-ease”, perhaps instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet, consider looking within your internal pharmacy. You just might be surprised by what’s in there.