A common misconception about Chinese medicine is that you have believe in it for it work. That somehow your worldview and thought system is integral to the process, or that for acupuncture to be effective you must come with a particular mindset. Itâ€™s kind of a funny thing. We donâ€™t usually think about believing or not believing modern bio-medicine. It is simply a technology. Follow the protocols and directives then certain outcomes will likely be seen.
It’s like cooking or baking, we don’t believe in it or not. We understand it to be a series of steps and processes that followed one way leads to a delicious chocolate cake and if followed incorrectly, will result in a chocolate flavored brick. So too it is with acupuncture, at its best it involves the discernment and following of certain subtle processes. Practiced simply as a technology it can yield profound results. Even when used in a paint by numbers way, such as it is taught in short courses to chiropractors and physical therapists it can still at times yield stunning results.
Why is it that belief is not required?
Answered simply, it is because acupuncture follows certain natural laws. Put a seed in fertile soil at a certain time of year, provide water and sunlight and a plant appears. Put ice on your skin and it will diminish the blood flow and cause the tissues to contract and go numb. Bake up a tasty bread and it will cause the mouth to water. Some things happen because it is simply the way the world works. Slide a needle into a particularly active acupuncture point and the body can’t not response. It is not really a question of does it work, as much as it is that the practitioner have the experience and skill to tap these aspects of nature. Not everyone has a green thumb, and some have a flair for cooking that others don’t. It is rare that someone just has a knack for doing something well, mastery usually comes from innate curiosity and studied cultivation.
The best cooks, those tops at surgery, savants at writing software code, those who know the world of sales, and mechanics who can diagnose a problem with their ears will tell you what any experienced acupuncturist would tell you; that it is not a matter of belief, it is a matter of understanding the process with which they are working. That’s what makes all the difference in the results.