The body and mind are full of connections (synapses, neurons, joints, tissues, organs, systems). The body-mind also has an energy system. By energy system, I mean that there is something we can’t quite see literally, but often operates outside of our ordinary awareness. We feel this energetic system when we are tired, sick, injured, depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. If we pay attention, we notice peaks, valleys, and plains in our level of energy. When we are depressed, we may sleep a lot more than normal. When we are anxious, we may have difficulty sleeping. When we feel balanced, we notice a good balance of not too tired, not too anxious and that feeling of being just right. Often when we are not feeling right, it is our energy system reporting an imbalance.
Looking at the body-mind as a connected system of energy is not new to Chinese Medicine, especially the practice of acupuncture. Throughout the lifespan, we encounter stress and trauma which we respond to in various ways that at the time serve to aid in survival. These methods of coping create imbalances in our body-mind energy system. If we experienced an abusive childhood or great losses at any point in our life, our energy system is affected. Acupuncture assists in reconnecting the body to a balanced state where one can find peace and not be so anxious or depressed. Acupuncture utilizes needles to tap into our energy system unblocking the blocks created by stress, trauma and illness.
The same holds true for the examination of our past and present in counseling and psychotherapy. Often a therapist will ask questions that take us back to a difficult situation or trauma in life or have us recall a time when we felt more balanced (like our old selves). This recollection helps the client to get a sense of what it was like to feel balanced and what may have thrown us out of balance. This insight may help identify ways to pull us back into a state of balance. In meditative therapy, we are often able to observe at the level of imagination any blocks in our thoughts and emotions that are problematic. By noticing thought patterns and emotional states, we are often better equipped to reconnect to a state free of these patterns.
Both acupuncture and psychotherapy have the ability to help us return to a balanced state. Consider using these therapies together for a powerful way to combat the effects of stress and trauma.