It is not uncommon to walk gently into the treatment room after a patient has had a half hour conversation with the needles and feel a profound sense of quiet similar to that found walking through a Northwest rainforest of moss cloaked giant cedars. There is a …stillness; it is palpable.
The other day I had a patient who is wicked smart and agile of thought ask “Is this like what meditation feels like?”
An interesting question and one that cut to the core of my thinking about how acupuncture tends to coax people into a profoundly restful state, but one that is not like ordinary sleep. It has long been a curiosity of mine that in addition to relieving pain, setting digestion right and eliminating headaches, acupuncture also promotes a unique feeling quiet and calm. Meditation can also gentle the mind to the point where we quietly inhabit moment. It is somewhere in between sleep and waking. Time dissolves as we slip from the grasp of the conscious mind and inhabit the present moment.
“Can acupuncture be used as a sort of ‘cheating' meditation?” was the next question. I don't think that ‘cheating' is the correct adjective. I suspect it is more accurate to say using acupuncture can be seen as assisting. Assisting in helping us to remember and connect with that deeply rejuvenating place within ourselves that is also accessible via meditation.