Distance Treatments

One thing I have found through the practice of acupuncture is that there are so many things about healing that don’t fit into our generally agreed-upon reality.

At the request of a friend, I recently decided to try giving a distance treatment. Over the years I have worked to develop my intuition, although I had never before combined acupuncture and intuition in such a focused way. So I thought it would be interesting to see how it went.

The first experience was magical. I found that I was able to focus in on particular problem areas, seeing pictures of energy dynamics at work in the body. In some cases, these matched very closely with the general theories of acupuncture’s energetic anatomy and in other cases it was more symbolic. The body pretty much looks like this picture (above), and different areas light up based on what the patient is saying.

Chinese medicine has room for all that magic, and still a practitioner can check results logically even when the techniques themselves defy explanation.

While I am still very much testing the distance treatment technique, there has been clear evidence that this kind of treatment is every bit as effective as a treatment in person, even on the level of physical recalibration.

In a way, it brings up my perpetual question: is acupuncture just a way to focus our intention, or is something physiologically happening because of the insertion of needles?

I am reminded of the time when I was a student observing in an experienced practitioner’s clinic. She was breaking a block for a patient. This is an imbalance that is detected on the pulse, where the junction between two meridians is not connecting properly. Think of two hoses end to end, where the link between them is partially closed.

I was holding the patient’s hand and taking the pulse as the practitioner prepared to do the four points that would break the block. But miraculously, the pulse corrected just before the needles were inserted. So was it the needles or the intention behind them?

It could be possible that in fact intuition is a more direct way to access the energetic body and, indeed, to tap into the pathologies or imbalances that are currently at work in a person’s body or life. As I like to joke with my patients sometimes, “this one’s not in the books!”

An important note: following some discussion on social media, I’d like to add a caveat about distance treatments. Although one can visualize and work on another person from a distance, it should not be done without the patient’s consent and awareness. In my opinion, the patient should have explicitly requested and agreed to healing work, and should be aware at the exact moment that the healing is taking place. This is the number one golden rule of this kind of work.

I was once the recipient of distance healing I did not request, and I was not told about it until after the fact. While the person’s intentions were good, I remember feeling at the time that someone was watching me, and I did not understand why. When I found out the next day that this person was trying to heal me, it made sense. But it was no different than if he had been peering in my window without permission to make sure I was eating well. Healing work should never be imposed on someone else no matter how badly they might seem to need it. It is up to them to walk that path when and how they choose.

On the other hand, when healing is done with the person’s request and awareness, that person becomes an agent and witness to their own healing process which is valuable and makes the session all the more effective.