Breathing is the first.
After watching my partner grow our daughter from two cells, I am convinced that life begins then, at the joining of two cells (the one—space—to the two—sperm and ovum—to the three—embryo). Yet there is undeniably a shift that happens when the first breath is taken. Perhaps it is simply the first thing that you do on your own. Until that first breath outside the womb, mother and child are one (one and not one). And then the lungs fill with air from the world and mother and child change (not one and one).
Buddhist meditation practices often begin with breathing. Yoga postures use the breath to connect the mind and the body. The foundational practice of many Chinese martial arts, zhan zhuang qigong, is a standing posture and steady, relaxed breathing.
Breathing is the first.
Acupuncture is not a typical career choice. High school seniors don’t go to job fairs and hang out at the Chinese medicine table. So we are often asked:
“How did you get into acupuncture?”
In the beginning, I answered the way I had heard other practitioners answer. Many years later, as I started to understand it better, I saw how wrong this story was. It is the apparent answer. It is the series of events, the things. But in truth, my coming to this work is more like a string being tuned.
Our lives are more separate than ever. We find ourselves in bubbles that are much smaller than we would like. The weaving of tradition and individual created by Tai Chi practice is a balm. It can help us connect to something bigger than ourselves, outside of space and time, while at the same time providing a solitary activity that supports individual physical and mental health.
Acupuncture is famous for natural pain relief. To make sense of why and how acupuncture treats pain, we have to explore pain itself. But not nerve pathways, pain gate theory, neurotransmitters, or any of that.
This is about the experience of pain.
Healing pain has to match the specific quality of pain that someone experiences.
Stretching is widely accepted as a good thing to do, but the question is whether there is a right way to do it. Do you reach and hold it? Do you bounce? Do you get a trainer to do it for you?
A company is only as good as the people who work there. From the people who hold the guiding vision to those who keep the computers working, people create the capacity, culture and future of a company. One of the best things you can do for your company is support the health and wellbeing of its people. An effective wellness program increases productivity and engagement, is a key factor in recruitment and retention, saves the company money on health insurance and sick days, and helps develop a strong and positive workplace culture.