Patients always ask “why are you putting needles in my foot if my pain is on my head?”
They also ask that when treating infertility. “What do those needles on my legs have to do my with my ovaries or uterus?” Trust me it does, but why you ask? Acupuncture employs a number of different needling methods. One of the most puzzling things to patients is the concept of “distal needing.” The concept that acupuncture points on your hand, foot, leg, or ear can treat a problem so far away.
One way to understand this is to think of the electric circuit of a light switch. You can turn a light off and on very directly near the bulb with a pull chain. This is like needling your tight neck and scalp area when you have a migraine. Flipping a switch on a wall to turn on a light is like putting a needle in your foot to treat that headache . The thing we don’t see is the wiring inside the wall. This wiring is like the acupuncture meridians that connect your head and brain to your foot.
Meridians can be looked upon as nerve fibers. By accessing bundles of nerves at different points, we can affect areas further away where those nerves connect. Another good way to look at it is the “sitting in traffic analogy.” If you are stuck on the freeway you are not going to go much faster by just moving some of the cars near you. But, if you could move that broke-down car a mile of two ahead, the result would be all the cars starting to move, and you would be up to speed in no time.
I find these analogies really useful in helping patients understand what goes on when we insert acupuncture needles. Sometime needle placement can seem puzzling, but believe me there is a very deep thought process involved.
If you like to experience acupuncture for yourself, don’t hesitate to contact me for a consultation!