Why I am an acupuncturist

This post is copied from our older, original blog. Original post date 10/4/2011. 

By Marcie Bower, Lic.Ac.

Being an acupuncturist is still a unique enough profession that people always ask about it. It is a great social tool – I’m interesting at parties and social gatherings whether I try to be or not, just because of my occupation. People always ask me why I became an acupuncturist. So, here’s why:

I was a sophomore in college, a cross-country runner, a stressed-out student with an active social life. Despite running everyday, I didn’t pay much attention to my health. I was lucky – there was nothing terribly wrong, so I never really needed to pay much attention to it. My mom had been going to an acupuncturist for an acute injury – and she was pretty much blown away by the significant results that she was seeing. She begged me to try acupuncture – I was hesitant, because there wasn’t anything really WRONG with me, I thought. I was only used to interacting with health when there was an absence of it – I didn’t interact with health as a state of being. But, I was curious, so I gave it a try. I must say that the treatment altered the course of my life. As I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms that really needed rectifying, I didn’t have some miraculous reaction to treatment – rather, the experience changed the way I interacted with my body.

At the treatment, my acupuncturist, Christine, asked me some questions, and then used her other diagnostic tools to determine what was going on in my body – she felt my pulse, looked at my tongue, and did some muscle testing. After using these tools that I didn’t understand, she was able to know things about me, about how my body worked, that were much deeper than anything I had told her in my health history. I was overcome with a sense of awe – my body spoke a language that I didn’t know or understand, and Christine knew how to read it! I wanted to know that language. I started avidly reading about acupuncture, and I grew increasingly amazed at the grace and beauty with which acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine viewed the human body, the mind, and even the cosmos. Everything existed in relationship with one another – isolated symptoms were not really isolated, as every part of the body interacted with the other parts. And moreover, the body, mind, and spirit interacted with the world around them, and the world reacted back. Everything I read was based on observations of the natural world – the cycles of the seasons, the different energies that you feel when you stand atop a mountain as opposed to standing on a beach, the way that certain foods grew and how they moved in the human body.

It just made so much sense, to me, in a way that other ways of viewing the body had never resonated with me.

For most of my life up until that point, the relationship with my body was one of seeing how far I could push it. I was an avid long distance runner, used to speed workouts on the track at 6:00 am and long runs at a pace that I couldn’t really keep up. I was used to staying up really late to write papers and hang out with friends. The physical limits of my body were something to be pushed through – not something to learn from and listen to, from which to hear a story of my being.

Acupuncture changed that for me. It taught me how to listen to my body, how to be connected with my body, how to look for the wisdom that our physical selves hold. (Also, not so ironically, I have run far better in recent years than I ever performed in college – when I listen to the wisdom of my body regarding what feels good, what is a good kind of challenge and what is simply too much.)

I have definitely seen the benefits of acupuncture first-hand – I have utilized the medicine throughout the years for various running injuries and typical women’s health ailments. I developed Bell’s Palsey during my senior year of college and am convinced that I fully recovered because of my use of acupuncture during that time. Acupuncture has let me run marathons pain-free, deal better with stress, and stop having migraines all together. And now that I am an acupuncturist, I see the wonders of acupuncture every day, as my patient’s symptoms improve, as I discharge patients who no longer are in need of acupuncture treatment. I am acupuncturist because of the power of the medicine to really, truly, heal.

For me, though, more than anything, it was the graceful beauty of acupuncture that drew me to it, and draws me to it still.