Acupuncture is, among other things, a transfer of energy. When we needle a point, we are using the needle to active the acupuncture point’s unique function. Each acupuncture treatment is a unique set of points that are used to treat each person’s Chinese pathology. However, I have found that the idea of intention is just as important in an acupuncture session as the point prescription. This is the idea that when the acupuncturist is inserting the needles, they direct their energy into the overall intention of the treatment. In recent months, I have found that when I focus my intention of the overall acupuncture treatment, my patients report a greater sense of relaxation during the treatment and longer lasting results as well.
I experienced this phenomenon while I was in acupuncture school. During the first few semesters of school, we were required to take a massage class and practice on our friends. I was massaging my friend’s calves because she was experiencing leg cramps at night. During the massage, I was talking to my friends and not really setting my energy or focus on the massage itself. That night, I woke in the middle of the night from horrible cramping in my claves. I had never experienced that pain before nor have I ever experienced it since that time. This was how I realized and truly understood the value of intention and focus in giving acupuncture (or any other) treatment.
I had an interesting experience this morning in yoga. I had gone to class expecting to feel tired and weak and I made the decision to do as much as I could and take it easy once I felt fatigued. But I was very surprised when I actually felt very strong and was able to move freely and without too much exertion. In fact, I wanted more! As I was laying in Savasana (the last pose of every yoga class, where you lay on your back quietly), I realized how many expectations I create in my mind and how shocked (or even disappointed) I am once the reality doesn’t match my preconceived expectations. And also, how much work I put into preparing for those expectations and then realize its not the truth at all! It’s kind of exhausting and takes a little excitement out of life, no?
This morning’s yoga class was a great reminder for me to examine what things in life are my own expectations and to compare them with reality. Luckily, it was a pleasant surprise when I was able to go through the entire yoga class this morning rather than feeling too tired. However, expectations can also go in the “opposite” direction–when I expect a positive outcome and a negative one results instead. If I let go of preconceived expectations, think of how much more exciting would life be? If I could just wait and see and not have any plan for what may or may not happen? (And feeling OK with the waiting period?) I would waste a lot less time preparing for something that might never happen.