How Traditional Healers Use Acupuncture To Help Us Heal

Adiel Gorel

My first experience of acupuncture was when I was on a hitchhiking trip to South America. It was in Quito, Ecuador, that I experienced a painful ingrown toenail and consulted a doctor about it. The doctor advised surgical extraction of the toenail, which I decided to postpone for a bit. Then I met an acupuncturist and tried acupuncture, and I started to feel better. When I met the doctor again, there was nothing that needed doing for my toenail – it had healed!
This actually showed me the body’s power to self-heal; something that I have been learning more about recently. I spoke to traditional healer Dr. Erlene Chiang, who is a Chinese herbalist as well as a practitioner of acupuncture and qigong, for my podcast. Chad and I discuss her work and the overarching theme of the merit in natural, ancient healing systems.

The body has the power to self-heal.

Traditional healing systems acknowledge not just the physical body but the finer bodies that survive death and the deterioration of the physical body. The astral, mental, and causal bodies survive this physical death; something that we may call the ‘soul’ in everyday parlance. Most traditional healing systems have a concept that is similar to this; similarly, they have a concept of the life breath or the energy in the body. It is known as ‘prana’ in the Hindu belief system, and in the Chinese tradition, this life force is called ‘qi’.
Systems such as qigong and acupuncture are predicated on the qi or energy system of the body. The Chinese envisage 12 energy meridians, plus eight extraordinary energy meridians. Each of these corresponds to or connects with specific organs of the body such as the liver or the kidney. When there are blockages within the body, this constricts the flow of energy within the body, giving rise to premature aging, aches and pains, stiffness, and disease. It is these blockages that acupuncture and qigong can resolve to get the qi flowing naturally and optimally once again. Dr. Chiang tells me how so many young people she comes across have the bodies of much older people; conversely, she has seniors in their 70s and 80s who are fit enough to play tennis!

Why we must stay flexible in body and in mind.

When the body’s energy is blocked, this causes disease, low energy, pain, stiffness, skin problems, and so on. One of the ways to avoid this is to remain flexible – not just physically but also mentally. So I have been into yoga and Pilates recently, finding that my body has the capability to be more flexible than I thought. Similarly, it is important for us to remain mentally agile. Having a rich social life, learning new skills such as a language or learning how to play an instrument, doing puzzles such as Sudoku… all of this helps us stay younger, and maintain our youth and vitality for longer.
Adiel Gorel

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