>Acupuncture and Joy

"Joy is not merely incidental to your spiritual path, it is vital."

We are all on a spiritual path, patients and practitioners alike. We would not be doing
what we do if we did not feel a connection to the spirit. Some traditions focus more directly on
the spirit than others, but all of acupuncture has at its core the Tao and the belief in the flow of
the Qi. This belief is inextricably bound to the spirit; it is the spirit. In my long practice of Five
Element Acupuncture, I have come to see that one of the most important things I can provide for
my patients is to strengthen their spirit and uncover their basic joyful nature.
By using Five Element Acupuncture, we give our patients the framework with which to
experience life in its entirety. We help them see that sickness and death are not terrible enemies,
but an essential aspect of being fully alive. By being familiar with and using certain acupuncture
points, we have the ability to more directly touch a patient‘s spirit and bring about joy.
All too often, we relegate joy as something we will do when all of our work is completed.
We cannot let this happen for ourselves or for our patients. Our work in this world is never over.
So if we wait for this elusive end point, we will be waiting a very long time. We need to find joy
in the everyday moment. We need to help ourselves and our patients clear the path, allow the joy
to flourish, and realize that it is the "container" that holds our lives.
In the Five Element Acupuncture tradition, there are numerous Kidney Chest, and out
Bladder line points that have a very deep and powerful connection to the spirit. Points such as
Spirit Burial Ground KI 24, Spirit Storehouse KI 25, Spirit Seal KI 23, Amidst Elegance KI 26,
and Outer Bladder Line points used at the proper time and in the appropriate context have a
profound effect on the patient‘s body, mind, and spirit. For example, if you felt that a patient‘s
spirit was not buried, but present and very weak and in need of support, needling the Spirit
Storehouse KI 25 could replenish it; BL 37 and 39 used in combination are very powerful. Soul
Door BL 37 opens the way into BL 39 Spirit Hall, which can be imagined as a vast almost
limitless space that allows the spirit to expand and flourish.
In an ideal world, these points would be used in the full context of the Five Element
tradition, but I believe that their wisdom should be available to all traditions. In considering these
points, do not go as Professor Worsley would say, "spirit crazy", and use every point on every
patient at every treatment. Instead, listen, observe, question, and determine where your patient is.
Access the state of his/her spirit/joy, and direct, if appropriate, some of the treatment to utilize
points that have a strong spiritual aspect. A little bit goes a long way. Remember the "Law of
Least Action". Do as little as possible to ease your patients onto the appropriate path. Do not try
to drag them down the path. Be mindful of where they are, not where you think they should be.
One of the rewarding aspects of working with joy and spirit in your patients is that you
are equally affected. By touching the joy in them, you touch the joy within you. As Lao Tzu
says, "How do I know this because it could all begin in me".