While reflecting on my past few years as a busy community acupuncturist, I have come across a few common phrases that I hear from my patient base. These are a some of my favorites:
"I felt like I was floating."
"I felt like I was really heavy and I couldn't move, but in a good way."
"I had waves of [sensation] running up my [body part] even where the needles were not placed."
"It's so easy to relax in here."
"I slept better after the last treatment"
"Wow, the pain is gone!"
"I can't believe I fell asleep!"
(yawn) "I feel better."
"I've never been able to afford acupuncture, but always wanted to try it. Thank you for being here."
All of these statements that I hear quite often make me very happy. It feels good to see people experiencing what I know to be true about receiving an acupuncture treatment. However, my favorite thing to hear on the lips of a patient that I am gently bringing back to reality as they astonishingly glance at the clock is "I can't believe how fast the time went."
It's as if we are kids again playing at recess and the bell rings... "ALREADY?! Dang."
Without delving into Quantum Mechanics and the possibility that time is an illusion, I can say that I have felt this same sensation after laying for 45 minutes with needles in my body. Acupuncture often has waves of sensation and is almost like a ride. A ride into the self. It's each person's own choice to steer or be driven on that ride and I find myself choosing to be driven over the former.
Although, at first there are layers of the outside world and all of its attachments that I usually have to shed, sooner or later I find a space where it is easy to relax and begin to listen to what is going on in my body and this awareness seems to take on a form of dance. The dance is more of an improvisation than any technical form, as I slowly go into a deeper understanding of who I am, who I am not and everywhere in between. Emotions and some thoughts may arise and pass: sadness, tears, joy, fear, anger, forgiveness, acceptance, motivation, letting go...
Letting go seems to always be a powerful choice because it puts me right back in the present moment. It allows me to access the only thing that I'll ever own: right now. And somehow this dance, this ride, this proprioceptive exploration always new, yet bafflingly familiar leaves me more at peace with my life situation. It fuels me with vital energy and the gift of understanding.
Time flies when you're having fun. But it also flies when you are experiencing the moment truthfully, bravely, authentically and peacefully. While this is only my experience I know that the physical stimuli from the strategic placement of needles in the body has some similar effect on most people.
As community acupuncturists it is our mission to make acupuncture accessible and affordable for everyone. I am grateful to offer a room as a safe place for people to let time slip away, to allow them to shed the heaviness of debt, regret, stress, relationships and life situations that may not be serving them. Even as little as half an hour of this improvisational mental, physical, emotional and spiritual dance seems to allow them to carry on with a better quality of life.
No matter what is going on in my life I love coming to work. I enjoy being able to offer a portal to this time-bending journey for my patients where they leave feeling better than they did when they walked in. My shifts seem to fly by every time.
J.P. O'Hara, LAc, Flow Community Acupuncture, Redding, CA
For an article on how acupuncture outperforms placebo with regards to reversing the underlying pathology of disease (with regards to opiod receptors) click here: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/sep/07/pains-and-needles-brain-scans-point-to-hidden-effects-of-acupuncture
For a really nerdy article on how time is not real and just a product of our consciousness click here: https://www.learning-mind.com/illusion-of-time/
To find out more about the pioneers that created community acupuncture and how to support their mission to make acupuncture accessible and affordable for as little as $25 per year click here: www.pocacoop.com