Used by over 2 billion people as a primary healthcare modality, acupuncture is the oldest, most commonly practiced medical procedure in the world! There are many theories for how and why it works, but the most basic idea is that human energy (AKA: qi or chi) runs through the body in currents called meridians. Sometimes one or more of these meridians becomes blocked due to trauma (physical or emotional) or stress. These blockages often cause pain and perpetuate the dis-ease process. By inserting tiny needles into various points within the meridians, an acupuncturist can free up the stuck qi, thereby restoring proper energy flow and reminding the body of how to heal itself. There are many different styles of acupuncture. I was trained in the Worsley tradition of Five Element Acupuncture, though I tend to blend in elements of other acupuncture styles such as Kiiko Matsumoto Style (KMS). In addition to using needles, I often use a technique called moxabustion which involves burning mugwort over certain acupuncture points to stimulate or move energy.
Taking an herbal remedy is a way to bring a healing presence into one's body on a daily basis. Chinese formulas usually contain multiple ingredients which are carefully selected to work synergistically and treat the entire person. There are many forms in which the herbs are used or taken including: teas, liquid extracts, pills, granules or poultices. In my practice I primarily prescribe herbs to be taken in pill form or in granule form to be mixed in warm water. Although many of the herbs do come from China, I only use products that have been US lab tested and are guaranteed to be free of heavy metals, pesticides and any other toxic materials.
Medical Qi Gong
The term "Qi Gong" (pronounced chi gung), literally translated from Chinese, means "Energy Work". It is a highly refined system of exercises and meditations that develop our ability to acquire, store, circulate, and purify our qi (vital energy). Through practice of Qi Gong, a practitioner learns how to use their mind as a tool to direct the flow of electrical signals and energetic currents that comprise the integrated matrix of our body, mind, and emotions. This skill can then be applied in a medical context for the benefit of a client. One specific form of medical qi gong used in my practice is Tong Ren. Tong Ren is part of a healing system that was created by a Chinese doctor practicing in the Boston area named Tom Tam. It is a very simple technique, but is extremely effective. In a typical Tong Ren session, the practitioner uses a small human anatomical model as an energetic representation of the patient, tapping on targeted points on the model with a lightweight magnetic hammer. The practitioner directs chi to blockage points corresponding to the patient’s condition, breaking down resistance at these points. As blood flow, neural transmission, and hormone reception are restored, the body is then able to heal.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy (CST)
Cranio-Sacral Therapy is a gentle method for releasing restrictions in the soft tissues of the body. A practitioner is able to find these restrictions by tuning into the subtle rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid that pulses through the brain and spinal cord which creates waves of motion that ripple throughout the entire body. By holding a very light touch and a deep presence to these areas the practitioner encourages and witnesses the unwinding and freeing of these restrictions… again, evidencing the body’s ability to heal itself when given the right amount of time and space.
What to expect
I usually start each appointment with a brief guided meditation. This allows clients to transition to a more relaxed and receptive state that is conducive to healing. Once the client is on the table, I do things a bit differently than most acupuncturists. While many practitioners choose to leave their client to relax alone after the needles are placed, I've found the treatments to be more effective when I stay in the room. This way I am able to more closely monitor the changes happening on the client's pulses during the session, and often I am adding in another element such as qigong (Chinese energy work), moxibustion, or cranio-sacral therapy to enhance and ground the work being done. At the very least, I am there to hold the intentions of the treatment in a calm state and answer questions if they arise.
An initial visit is typically 90 minutes long and includes an intake and treatment. During the consultation we will discuss your health history, diet, and lifestyle choices. I may recommend a nutritional or herbal remedy to take.
Follow up visits are 60 minutes and will include a brief check-in after the meditation and then the treatment.
By Morgan Farley
I am clearing a space
here, where the trees stand back
I am making a circle so open
the moon will fall in love
and stroke these grasses with her silver
I am setting stones in the four
stones that have called my name
from mountaintops and river beds,
canyons and mesa
Here I will stand with my hands empty
mind empty under the moon
And if something
takes my life, if a sudden wind
sweeps through me, changing
I will not resist
I am ready for whatever comes
But I think it will be small, an animal
padding out from the shadows
on delicate paws, or a word
spoken so softly I hear it inside
There is a way to live
that makes the angels cry out in
a way to live that makes each cell a
Come stand with me here, it is
cold, I know, and silent,
nothing is happening
the next breath, and the next,
is the new life