I have self-treated on a couple of occasions in the past. One was for shock and the other for a headache. Thankfully, I don’t generally suffer with either, so it’s not a regular occurrence.
If I was to use acupuncture for a semi regular complaint it would be shoulder pain, but i find it impossible to reach the points required on my own body. I could use ‘distal’ points. These are points at the other end of the meridian to where a problem exists, which are easier to reach. In this case, they would be on my hands. However, I find a blend of regular exercise, Bowen Technique and Osteopathy keep me pain free and mobile.
One huge perk of this kind of work is fellow practitioners are often keen to exchange treatments. Owing to the fact that the two practitioners working downstairs at York Natural Health offer these therapies, my shoulders are happy as Larry.
Another aspect that doesn’t bode well for self treatment is patient-practitioner rapport. Acupuncturists believe that this is a fundamental aspect of the healing process which is distinctly absent in a self treatment. Rapport is a ‘chemistry’ between the patient and the acupuncturist. It’s a difficult subject to describe, but be assured it’s presence or lack of means the world of difference to the patients’ experience. Traditional acupuncturists are trained in many ‘soft’ skills such as active listening and body language that help form the foundations of good rapport.
We use rapport building as an effective method of connecting with a patient. It creates an open atmosphere where information gathering can be done quickly and effectively, even about very difficult and sensitive issues. In many senses the practitioner needs to be in a ‘neutral’ gear where they can go where the patient feels safe, yet get all the necessary information required to put together an appropriate treatment plan. The patient should not feel rushed or pressured, yet the session should move forward so that there is a good blend of talking, needling, explanation, planning and advice-giving. All of this should feel seamless and natural.
This neutral space for the practitioner is essential. It is a time when our concentration and focus is 100% on our patient. At this point, nothing else matters. This focus brings trust and in turn, trust can take the healing relationship to a new level. Often I hear patients say ‘I’ve never told anyone that’ or ‘ I can’t believe I’ve shared that and only known you ten minutes’.
This kind of structured relationship can fast-forward the removal of many obstacles that patients may face and deliver an improved feeling of wellbeing.
By treating oneself with needles a whole portion of the magic of acupuncture is absent.