Sunday, February 24, 2019

7. Lessons I learnt from JR Worsley's visit to my practice

Another profoundly moving experience which has coloured the whole of my acupuncture life occurred when JR Worsley came to my practice for a day.  He had agreed to see six of my patients at hourly intervals.  I was therefore dismayed when he diagnosed that four of them needed what we call possession treatment.  I was shocked that I had not seen this myself beforehand, for this is a long treatment, which could easily last more than the hour I had allocated to each patient.  To help speed up treatment, JR said that he would stay the whole time in the practice room with me.

The treatment protocol requires the insertion of seven needles in a certain order, each needle having to be accurately placed so that the seven act as a combination to release this block.  We were also told that the needles should be left in for up to 20 minutes.  Locating these seven points is usually quite a lengthy business.  They are spread over the body, and since a few are particularly difficult to locate, it would normally have taken me quite a long time to find the points and insert the needles correctly, but with JR standing behind me and watching me as I worked, I relaxed completely, knowing that he would correct any misplaced location.  In the event, to my surprise I located each point without any difficulty for each of the four patients.  I heard afterwards from a fellow acupuncturist who was in the room with us that at each insertion JR simply nodded his head as if to say, “yes, that’s right”, and a mere few minutes after all the needles had been inserted, he would look at the patient and again nod his head, telling me to remove the needles.  Each treatment had barely lasted five minutes, and each case of possession had cleared.

Afterwards, thinking back on what had gone on in the practice room, I was convinced that JR was guiding my hand, such was the power of the energies he must have been directing towards my patients.  In effect I felt that he was treating my patients through me, and I did not think that it was fanciful to believe this.  It is this concentrated focus of all our attention with the aim of helping our patients, like a beam of light directed at one spot, which transforms what can become a purely physical procedure, the insertion of a needle at one point on the body, into something profoundly healing. 

I also remember JR saying that he did not really need to use moxa to warm a point, because he could do this simply by gently placing his finger over the point and the patient would feel the heat.  I thought I would see if I could do the same, and to my surprise found that the patient said “Hot!” as I palpated the point and before I had inserted a needle.  This confirmed to me that there is some transmission of energy between the practitioner and the patient which can become a powerful force if directed correctly.

To persuade myself of the truth of this in a more everyday situation, I rather mischievously decided that I would test out my theory when sitting on the top deck of a bus watching the world walk by on the pavement below.  I stared hard at the back of the head of a man passing below in the street.  To my delight, but perhaps not to my surprise, the man started to look around, gradually turning his head towards the bus, before finally raising his eyes to meet mine on the upper deck.  There was no doubt that whatever impulses I was sending out had somehow alerted him that somebody somewhere was watching, and he did not stop looking until he had homed in on me.  The same thing happened when I was sitting in the cinema and noticed a friend sitting many rows in front of me.  Again I concentrated on looking at the back of her head until I noticed her growing uncomfortable and starting to look around almost uneasily, before finally turning herself round completely in her seat and searching the back of the cinema until she had located me.

If my eye could send out such powerful signals quite a distance away, I could understand that the much closer contact with a patient, both through my eyes and through my touch, could have a correspondingly greater effect.  In my training much emphasis was placed on touch and its power to heal.  If this power is added to the action of a needle, then treatment can reach a profound level of healing in the hands of a caring practitioner.




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