Relaxation, Response.

Several things I’ve heard in the past week have made me want to piggyback on what Moses says in the previous post.  The first was that in conversation with another (non-CA) acupuncturist chum, he said in part, regarding NADA: “anyone can induce a relaxation response with acupuncture.” 

Though he went on to say that there’s a place for all different styles of acupuncture, I think he meant it disparagingly (as in “any monkey could do it.”)  I’ve been thinking about his comment ever since, because I really do sort of wonder whether “inducing a relaxation response” in and of itself isn’t a small miracle, and that perhaps small miracles are just the kind we need.  Small, sustainable miracles, not revival-tent, one-touch-and-you’re-“healed” miracles (which from what I hear can be real enough, but don’t tend to last).   Seems to me that it’s the relaxation that enables people to creatively respond to life instead of always habitually reacting; the relaxation provides the gap, the space, the moment to think and feel and reconnect to one’s inner wisdom.  

The second thing I heard was the Six Words of Advice from Tilopa to Naropa, which a friend was reminding herself of in the face of a big disappointment (disappointment in turn being “the best chariot to use on the path of the dharma” according to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche).  The sixth of the reminders, in its simple form, is “rest”; it has been elaborated as “relax, right now, and rest.”  We all know this is way easier said than done (“relax, dammit!”), but for *most* people that come into my clinic, it’s one of the chief benefits that they cite.  Maybe it’s the only real benefit I offer; maybe that’s because I’m a just a (yang Earth) Monkey.  Of course, I suspect acupuncture does more than that; some days I’m even seduced into thinking *I* do more than that.  But mostly, I like offering something really simple, easy, small, regular, quotidian, no big deal.  It’s not that I don’t think about technique, or the patient’s particulars, but on a day when the clinic is really busy, I just feel like the conductor, and the patients are the instruments and the players, and we all hear the mermaids singing.  

This story was posted on March 5 2009 by Nora.

Comments

  • March 5 2009 at 7:29 PM
    Moses.C writes:

    love this post,
     
    “I think

    love this post,

     

    “I think he meant it disparagingly (as in “any monkey could do it.”)”

     

    possibly.

     

    “maybe that’s because I’m a just a (yang Earth) Monkey”

     

    you are ‘any monkey’ after all!

     

    “But mostly, I like offering something really simple, easy, small,
    regular, quotidian, no big deal.  It’s not that I don’t think about
    technique, or the patient’s particulars, but on a day when the clinic
    is really busy, I just feel like the conductor, and the patients are
    the instruments and the players, and we all hear the mermaids singing.”

     

    I like simplicity. The more I work as an acupunk, the more I recognize the power of keeping things simple. As I noted in my blog, I don’t know for sure what all is happening in an acu tx, yet I do see a consistent result in relaxation for my patients. That is enough for me. Graduating acu school simple wasn’t enough for me, but now I finally see the power in it.

     

     

      0 likes
  • March 5 2009 at 11:59 PM
    david villanueva writes:

    Since stress

    is a major underlying cause of many health problems, providing treatments that allow the clients to relax is a very important service.

      0 likes
  • March 6 2009 at 12:28 AM
    melissa writes:

    thanks for this post, Norah!

    thanks for this post, Norah!

    your play on rest and repose got me looking at the definition of repose:

    1 a: a state of resting after exertion or strain
    ; especially : rest in sleep 2 a: a place of rest b: peace
    tranquillity  3 a: lack of activity : quiescence  4: composure of manner : poise

    “Seems to me that it’s the relaxation that enables people to creatively
    respond to life instead of always habitually reacting; the relaxation
    provides the gap, the space, the moment to think and feel and reconnect
    to one’s inner wisdom.”

    we asked a few of our patients if they would be willing to share testimonials to include in our website and received this one from one of our dearest. it reminded me that rest can be nothing short of life changing. she’ll be making visits to some east coast clinics while out there in the summer—you guys are gonna love her!

    “Dear Kelly and Melissa,
    I want to take the time to tell you that my visits to “We The
    People Acupuncture” has helped me turn the corner from the sadness of
    the death of my husband and the difficult memories of the dying
    experience.
    As I enter your space, I experience such peace and calmness ; I feel
    bathed in the balanced energy of the room.  Your professional
    demeaner and sweet nature has an immediate healing effect.
    As the weeks go on, I have experienced better sleep patterns and a
    calmer attitude. My focus on my work has improved, and I am engaging
    in life with a more positive attitude.
    Thank you both for offering this lovely facility at an affordable
    price for all who need healing.
    Sincerely,
    B.G.”

     

    i feel so lucky that we all get to be part of creating these oases to experience the gaps, spaces, and moments, as you say. as we say back in Rhode Island: wicked awesome!

     

    Melissa

    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

    God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

      0 likes
  • March 6 2009 at 8:50 AM
    Guest writes:

    I treated a 30 something man

    for a while last year.  He was married with two kids who were involved in sports and a variety of activities.  He told me that the hour he spent in the clinic was the only time all week - including the weekend - that he had to himself.  I thought that was so sad.

    As the ad says, *priceless.*

      0 likes
  • March 6 2009 at 11:26 AM
    andy wegman writes:

    A small point.

    Thanks to Moses and Nora (and folks commenting) for helping me to see this topic a bit more clearly.

    A lingering thought I have in relation to Nora’s notion:

    “Maybe it’s (relaxation) the only real benefit I offer.”

    With the copious amounts of xanax, alcohol and mindless television chatter that many of us use to sedate ourselves - to be able to access a clean option for achieving similar (I’d reckon, superior) ends, is no small enterprise.

    And of course, lots of livers and kidneys are far better off to boot…

      0 likes
  • March 6 2009 at 12:13 PM
    tatyana writes:

    i am sure that hundreds of stories…

    like ann’s patient exist among CA practices by now. we have a lovely Chilean woman who comes twice a week. she has two children and a very busy life and lots of health issues, including digestive problems and depression. this week she seemed particularly stressed out. during her intake she told me how the clinic is her special peaceful place, that she gets to have “just for me”. i needled her. she cried, she slept, and woke with a smile on her face.

    unencumbered time, silence and an opportunity to be with oneself without externalizing are rare and precious treasures in our carzy world. acupuncture is a wise and gentle tool for challenging the externally-focussed conditioning and encouraging restfulness and self awareness. part of why i love my job because i get to provide those things for many people who need them the most and have few opportunities to access them.

      0 likes
  • March 6 2009 at 5:12 PM
    Guest writes:

    Acu changes physiology

    I want to remind us all of the black legs lady I blogged about last year.  She was 85, had RA since she was 5 and had black lower legs.  The skin was the same texture.  Her MD didn’t know what the black stuff was and it was BLACK - like black jeans.  She came in twice a week for several months and then weekly as I recall.  I noticed after a while that the area of the black stuff was less and it was turning gray.  She was doing nothing different in her life but coming to acupuncture. 

    I wasn’t “treating her for black legs.”  As I recall I did bil. Miriam Lee’s 10 points.  Visible proof that acu helps the body physiologically.  

    So, yes, there is rest but there is much more going on and we all see it and feel it  smile

      0 likes
  • March 6 2009 at 5:49 PM
    Moses.C writes:

    heck yes!
    Good reminder Ann

    heck yes!

    Good reminder Ann that we are always treating the body and mind at the same time with acupuncture. I have also seen great physiological shifts through regular acu, both personally and through observing my patient community.  

      0 likes

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