“If I have pain in my shoulder, why are you sticking needles in my hand?” My back hurts, but you’re putting a needle in my leg?” “How can a needle in my foot effect my headache?”
I get these questions all the time. On the surface, it may seem like I’m randomly sticking patients like they are stereotypical voodoo dolls. However there is a very exact science to where I place the needles and why. Allow me to first explain with an analogy.
Think of the old telephones, the ones before cell phones that were connected by wires from person to person and place to place. As long a wire stretched from Baltimore to Los Angeles, I could reach a person across the country. I didn’t need to be physically within earshot of the person in order to have a conversation. And if I were in Indianapolis or Omaha and I tapped into that same wire, I could still talk with the person in LA or even someone back in Baltimore. I only needed to find a phone, and poof, I was connected.
In every way, acupuncture is like this. There are rivers of energy, called meridians, which flow up and down the entire body, from head to feet and fingertips to head. Each meridian is like those wires, carrying energy and communicating from Point A to Point Z and every point in between.
As I listen to a patient’s complaints and assess the meridian that may need treating, I am also deciding where the needles will be placed along that meridian. If the patient has migraine pain, and I feel that placing needles directly in the head will create the most healing, then that is where the needles go. And because there are telephones (or rather, points) all up and down the meridian, I can choose points just about anywhere along that meridian, be they on the neck, the back, the torso, arms, hands, legs or feet. As those point in the foot talks with the migraine up in the head, healing takes place.
For this reason, points on the hand affect the nose (allergies and colds). Points on the leg affect the eyes (blurred vision, red eyes, etc). Points on the wrist effect breathing (shortness of breath to congestion). And it goes on and on.
Acupuncture is a wonderfully complex and elegant system for healing the body from chronic pain and acute symptoms. Just think of all it can do for you!