Oftentimes when acupuncture is discussed, either in the media or on acupuncturists’ websites, a lot of information is given regarding acupuncture in relation to medical problems. For example, you may have heard that acupuncture is good for arthritis, or asthma, or PMS, etc. And this is true, acupuncture is very effective in treating those sorts of issues. But there’s another side to acupuncture that a lot of people are surprised to discover: Acupuncture is a deeply relaxing experience.
Now, if you’ve never experienced it, or only experienced certain types of acupuncture, you may find this to be a curious statement. But it is true. When you get acupuncture, it encourages the release of natural chemicals in your body which not only stop pain, but also help you to relax.
In my experience, this effect is heightened by acupuncture in a peaceful group setting. I was struck by this one day in my former clinic location, which was fairly small. I had a room full of people receiving acupuncture together on a Saturday morning. That day, the tenants next to me began doing renovations in their space – the construction noise was so loud that it sounded as if they were inside my clinic rather than next door. I went back into the room full of clients, thinking they would be agitated and wanting to leave. Instead, I found them all fast asleep.
This response sometimes doesn’t happen until the second or third acupuncture session. The experience may be too new and the person receiving the acupuncture may not have learned to settle into the experience. But as the sessions go on, the body is trained to respond much more quickly to relax. I often hear comments like “I sleep better here than I do at home!” or “I start to feel relaxed (or sleepy) as soon as I walk in the door of the clinic.”
This carries over, incidentally, into people’s lives outside the clinic. People who receive regular acupuncture often report that they are more calm during the day, even in stressful situations like work or traffic. Sometimes they tell me things like “When I start to feel especially stressed, I imagine that I’m in the chair in your clinic with all the needles in.” Sometimes people report that they begin to think more creatively when they are getting acupuncture, or that they receive inspiration, or process old memories. All kinds of things are possible from a deeply relaxed state.
So, you don’t need to be in pain or have a medical condition to experience one of the most important benefits of acupuncture. You may find that it helps you to relax more profoundly than you thought possible.