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Technology & Acupuncture

By Kimberly Thompson, LAc

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I Felt it in My Fingers First

I'm not afraid to say it. Massage therapists make better acupuncturists. I'll tell you how I know, but first I have a question: What do a microcurrent device, a laser and a hippie massage therapist have in common?

Background

Having never given a massage before and only receiving one massage in my life, I went to a hippie massage school in Santa Barbara, Calif. called The School of Intuitive Massage and Healing. I was completely out of my comfort zone. Imagine "conservative mother of eight" going to massage school. The director of the school interviewed me to see if I would fit into their program by feeling the "energy" coming off the bottom of my feet. Apparently, my energy radiated "just far enough" for her to let me in.

Imagine the scenario:

  • We began class walking barefoot on the grass to "connect with the earth."
  • I used to hide in the closet to take off my clothes, then come out wrapped up like I was going to a toga party.
  • Many would chant and do "energy dances" around one another to clear their "energetic fields."
  • We sat in circles on round pillows to "meditate" and "share our feelings" before and after each class.

This "energy stuff" was all very new to me. I'm not even sure exactly how I wound up at that school, except that it fit into my schedule and my budget. I did know my intention was to learn how to give a massage as quickly as possible and get out of there. I had goals of professionalism and I was pretty sure most of my classmates were a bit crazy.

head acupuncture - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark However, if this energy stuff was real, I didn't want anything to do with it and I surely didn't want any of them messing with mine! Needless to say, I kept my distance and tried desperately to pretend I was a fly on the wall when they "played energy games."

On our very first practice massage session, we were asked to pair up with a partner. I looked around the room and didn't feel comfortable with too many people, except maybe Penelope. Although she was one of the "energy dancers," I kind of liked her because she had a nice smile and an infectious giggle.

The rules of our first massage were simple. Do whatever you want. Let your hands slide over the body. See where they guide you. Feel the bumps, curves, valleys and temperature changes. Notice where your hands want to go. Since this would be my first time giving a massage and my second time receiving a massage, I let Penelope massage first. I'm not even sure what happened except that I fell asleep and melted into a puddle of butter. When I woke up, I felt like a buttered noodle.

Then it was my turn. I had no idea what I was doing and don't really remember much. The only thing I do remember was what Penelope said when I was done. As she sat up, she slowly shook her head and said: "Honey, you've got a gift and you don't even know it."

I had no idea that my experience at the School of Intuitive Massage and Healing would eventually bless my life in so many ways. After graduation, I opened the "professional" massage clinic I'd planned. Over time, I began feeling more than I understood while giving massages. My hands began to tingle and feel alive. I didn't know why, but I had to find out more. This led me to go back for advanced training courses at that very same school, and eventually to a plethora of other healing modality courses.

Fast Forward

By the time I graduated from acupuncture school, feeling energy through my fingers had advanced to feeling it through needle manipulation. Aligning the needle into the point was similar to aligning my finger to release a knot while giving a massage. Using this skill helped me quickly progress as an experienced acupuncturist. Now I'm a seasoned practitioner.

One day, I was experimenting with a point locator and microcurrent stimulation device on the ear for shoulder pain. Just as the device located the electrically active point, making the typical buzzing sound, I felt my hand fill up with energy. I could feel the point releasing via my hand. Simultaneously, the patient reported feeling pressure sensation at the electrically active point while I was treating. This sensation continued, both in my hand and in the patient's ear, for about 20 seconds.

During that experience, I also learned I could adjust the angle of the device, just like I do with needles (and my fingers), to lessen or increase the sensation I was feeling in my hand. I was amazed to recognize that old, familiar feeling showing up in my hands while treating with an electrical device!

I don't know why this discovery was so surprising to me. You'd think I'd learned to accept that I could feel energy by now. I had to try an experiment. I use blue and red lasers in my clinic. If I felt energy in my hand when I was using the point stimulator device, would I feel it while treating with the laser too? The answer: a resounding yes!

When I tilted the angle to the exact right position, I could feel the point releasing. I even found that the point would release in multiple intervals.

Example: When treating with the laser directly on the skin, I'd adjust it until I felt the DaQi sensation in my hand. When the point was finished releasing, the DaQi sensation would subside. By adjusting the laser to a new angle, the DaQi sensation would often return for a second round of releasing.

Experiencing a qi sensation through electrical devices has become very natural for me now. I expect it through whatever device I'm using.

So, let's get back to my original question: What do a microcurrent device, a laser, and a hippie massage therapist have in common? You can feel energy through all of them!

Since then, I've met several acupuncture practitioners who can feel what I feel. Most of them were massage therapists first. I know many of you can feel energy when you put your finger on an acupuncture point. Many more can even feel a shift when you are manipulating needles. I challenge you to take the next step and explore the possibilities with electrical point stimulators and lasers.

It's exciting to be working in the field of energy medicine. I can no longer deny that I feel "energy" when I work. Now, I see whatever tool I'm using as a bridge between the patient's energy and my own sensitivities.

I'm sure my story will continue to evolve. Technology is expanding and so are our possibilities. We, my friends, are lucky to be part of a cutting-edge generation of health practitioners.

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