As five element acupuncturists we often take for granted that the medium through which we work is created by lines of energy running through us, and from the world outside us, connecting all things in an inextricable web of energy. We take this for granted whenever we do a seasonal or a horary treatment, for we are assuming then that each of us is linked into nature’s energy and will respond to it when we stimulate these points. But each time we lift a needle and prepare to treat a patient, we will be effecting a similar transfer of energy between the patient and practitioner, and of course through both of them with the cosmic forces which feed us all.
We also need to accept that there is much more going on between us and our patients which underpins our treatments at a deep level, and may determine whether they are successful or not. This helps explain why exactly the same treatment with the same points on the same element from one practitioner can appear to be falling on fallow ground, whereas the same treatment from another practitioner proves remarkably successful. What may well differentiate the two practitioners may be their belief in what they are doing. I learnt that this might be so from a comment from a fellow practitioner some years ago, who told me that he could not understand why the treatments he was offering his patients did not seem to have the same results as mine. I realised that this might well be because he had told me he doubted the efficacy of five element treatment, and eventually moved on to practising another form of acupuncture. His spirit which doubted what he was doing appeared to be affecting the treatment his hands were offering his patients.
This was the first time that I began to be aware of the power of the practitioner’s spirit in determining the outcome of the treatment he/she was giving. The most profound lesson of all that I learned was when JR Worsley told us that he did not really need to light a moxa cone because his fingers warmed the point to the same degree. Rather arrogantly, I thought I would see if I could also do this, and was amazed when my patient said,”Hot!” as my fingers hovered over a point, with my intention firmly focused on warming the point. I never repeated this experiment, probably because I saw this as belittling the power of what JR had told us he could do.
Another profound experience of a slightly different kind was when I was marking up the points for a Husband/Wife treatment, and, being very early on in my practice, was concerned that passing energy from Metal to both Water and Wood as part of this procedure, would somehow be harmful to what I thought of as my Metal patient. (It isn’t, because I would have followed the H/W procedure immediately with the Metal source points.). As I finished marking the points, and hesitated before actually inserting the needles, my patient suddenly said, “It does sound a dangerous thing, that Husband/Wife imbalance which your teacher mentions in his book.” I sent thanks up to whatever spirit guides this universe, and carried on with the treatment. I am still in awe of what was happening at some deep level at that moment in the practice room. It was as though my patient had picked up on my doubts, and somehow felt she must reassure me that the Husband/Wife treatment was necessary. She had never mentioned before that she had read JR Worsley’s book, and never mentioned it again, but some need in me was being answered by what she said.
Another instance of the power of the forces we engage with when we needle was given me during a possession treatment. In those days, I think I was not focused enough to clear possession through the Internal Dragons, and so moved on to External Dragon treatment which involved needles in the AEPs (back shu points) of Water. Once all the needles were inserted, my patient suddenly called out in pain, “Something is hurting me on my back!”. When I looked, I could see that the AEP needle on one side of the Water AEPs was being dragged under, almost disappearing below a fold of skin, as though the needle was trying to position itself slightly higher than I had placed it. I tried to remove the needle, but couldn’t, as it was held so firmly held in place. All I could do was wait and see if the needle’s tug on the skin would lessen, and I could then take it out, which it did very easily after a few minutes. I realised, too, that the treatment had cleared the possession. Thinking of this afterwards, I interpreted this as my having marked the Kidney AEP point wrongly on one side, and the patient’s energy had directed the needle towards where I should have placed it.
Again, this was one of those incidents which made me aware of the forces I was dealing with, and how much a patient’s own energy was trying to support the treatment I was trying to give. These few examples have convinced me of the power we can unleash if we focus our thoughts clearly on what we are trying to achieve.
Finally, I am always thankful for whatever universal forces hovering above me have helped me in treating very ill patients, when I was given no time to carry out even the most basic diagnosis, since they could not even talk to me. One such patient was somebody who had suffered a severe stroke, and another who was so severely ill from cancer that she could not speak to me. I always felt that some hand was hovering over me, guiding me towards the correct diagnosis of these patients’ elements, and the treatment I should offer them. The universe, I felt, was leading me to help my patients when I could not carry out he usual procedures.
As I have said before, I am not a fanciful person or one who had much belief in powers beyond me before I started my acupuncture practice, but my experiences over the years have taught me that what I am doing with these often rather clumsy fingers of mine can often stir into life some of the profound forces which surround us.