It is not a secret that holding onto something — an idea, an object, or a person — isn’t healthy, but we all seem to do it. People often tell me that they have unexplainable pain, and after we talk they start to breathe and the pain magically disappears. As so perfectly quoted from the movie Frozen, we all just need to “Let it Go.”
We are about to approach Shabbat Tshuvah, the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when we ask for forgiveness. However, we also need to forgive. In the movie Frozen, Elsa, the eldest sister, can never forgive herself for hurting Anna, the younger sister. If Elsa would have forgiven herself she wouldn’t have turned everything into snow and ice.
There are many ways to work through emotional pain and stress. We can exercise, sing, dance, paint, or even get acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment used to help all kinds of problems, including stress. It is based on channel theory, where each channel relates to a different organ, and each organ correlates to a different emotion. Acupuncturists ask their patients a series of questions to find out which organ seems to be the source of a problem.* Acupuncturists will then feel their patient’s radial pulses (the pulse on the wrist closest to the thumb) and look at their tongues to help clarify their diagnoses, and then they will treat their patients. Tongue and pulse diagnoses are acupuncturists’ x-ray machines. They are the primary indicators of how their patients’ bodies are working.
How does acupuncture treat stress? Everyone’s stress is different, but acupuncture can help build you up if you are weak, calm you down if you are anxious, and even relax your muscles, which will help you let it go.
To further explain how an acupuncturist heals, I am going to compare your body to the movie Frozen. Oh, yes.
Imagine your body is Arendelle, the kingdom in Frozen. At the beginning, the town is beautiful, people are happy, and the king and queen are alive. As time goes on, the town starts to fall apart. The king and queen die, the princesses don’t know how to act, and eventually the town becomes frozen. Our bodies go through the same thing. We start out with a clean slate and as time goes by we become more rigid and life becomes harder. Eventually, Elsa decides she is going to be okay and she belts out “Let it Go,” but she isn’t better and the town is definitely not better. Throughout the movie, Anna looks for Elsa to try to save her, and just when we think Arendelle is ruined forever, the town is back and it’s blooming. The situation improved because the root of the problem was fixed. Elsa accepted her powers, and Anna realized that she didn’t need a man to be happy. That is what acupuncture does. It works on the root of an issue and fixes it.
An acupuncturist strategically places needles in acupuncture points to help nourish and strengthen the patient’s body. Each point belongs to a different channel, and each point has different benefits. Usually, this will allow an emotional release and help a person heal. People are often stuck, and something within them needs to be moved. Acupuncture points help stimulate the needed movement within the body and people start to feel better. The only way to truly understand acupuncture is to consider it as a means to allow the different parts of the body to work well as a unit.
In order for us to really feel good and be able to belt out “Let it Go” on top of a beautiful ice castle, we need to relax and find what makes us healthy. It could be, as in Frozen, accepting the fact that you have gifts, or that the man you once loved is not all he’s cracked up to be. Whatever it is, it’s about acceptance so that your whole body can be healthy.
This Shabbat Tshuvah just, “Let it go! Don’t hold it back anymore!”
*Note: When an acupuncturist talks about an organ they are referring to the qi, or energy of the organ, rather than the organ itself. Please do not worry that you have a problem with your spleen if your acupuncturist says you have spleen qi deficiency.