The Spiritual Side of Needles

by Natalie Grigson on February 28, 2013



Sorry about that. I must have zoned out for a minute there with my elbow on the keyboard—and by elbow here, I mean my forehead.

You see, I just got done with my weekly acupuncture treatment and for about half an hour after this treatment, I am in complete and total relaxation mode. So if my writing is a bit more “chilled out, man,” well, you’ll know it’s just because I’m still floating a bit—somewhere in between that Other Place and my living room couch.

In my last post I told you that from here on, I’d be acting as your “spiritual taste tester”—boldly trying all those weird, new-age spiritual practices so you don’t have to.

So, why am I somewhat sleepily telling you about acupuncture—something that is neither new age, dating back over 5,000 years, nor particularly “spiritual”?

Well, dear reader, if you do not think of acupuncture as particularly spiritual, my question to you is, have you tried acupuncture? Typically it is used to treat… well nearly anything. People use acupuncture as a cure to physical ailments—joint problems, allergies, persistent headaches, that annoying twitching thing that sometimes happens with your eye… It can also be used for emotional issues—depression, anxiety, anger, etc.

Of course as any good acupuncturist, or even any good “acupuncturee” knows, physical and emotional pains are one and the same, and both come from an imbalance in your qi (pronounced “chi.”)

And here’s where it gets spiritual. You see, us living beings are really just energy. Call it what you will—the Chinese call it qi. According to Chinese medicine, this life energy circulates through twelve invisible energy lines, or meridians, throughout the body; each one associated with a different organ system. So when this life energy gets out of whack, problems ensue. However, when this life energy is in harmony, your physical, mental, and emotional states will be too.

For me, the forty-five minutes or so during acupuncture is a very deep and super-relaxing meditation—and if you don’t believe me, just check out the picture. I’m probably drooling.

For those of you who are a bit squeamish about needles, well, just close your eyes. With a good acupuncturist, you’ll hardly even be aware that needles are involved at all. Pay attention to your breath, the rising and the falling of your chest, and if you notice your mind running, well, just notice the thoughts. Don’t try to stop them, don’t judge them; just watch them as you might the leaves blowing across a sidewalk.

Eventually you’ll descend from wherever you just were, but the benefits of acupuncture won’t fade away. With regular sessions, your emotional and mental states will improve; you’ll feel clearer and more centered. Your physical symptoms will also start to disappear. This, dear reader, is why I wanted to introduce acupuncture*, not only as a tool for healing, but as a spiritual practice as well.

And if you’re worried about the expense of such bliss, just Google “Community Acupuncture San Francisco.” These donation-based clinics are dotted all over the city like Starbucks.

*Warning: side effects of acupuncture may include: a state of complete bliss, relaxation, improved health, improved patience, decreased irritability, and, somehow, better complexion.

Have any questions about acupuncture? Suggestions for future spiritual topics to explore? Send Us Feedback below and I’ll get back to you!

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