Acupuncture for Recovery
For those unfamiliar with the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to penetrate energy points along energetic meridians within the body to treat a variety of health issues. This type of medicine views the body holistically and strives to find an energetic balance and flow through our minds, bodies, and spirits. Acupuncture needles are quite small, bendable, and honestly, not much of anything to write home about. It’s a wonder they can evoke the magic they do given their size and flimsiness.
As I pulled into the Enso Center (https://ensocenter.org/) in Redmond, WA, I was immediately taken by the two buildings and the serene feeling I got while on the property. The building to the left was a large, two-story building with an enormous outdoor patio. The building to the right was a beautiful home with a sign for an acupuncture clinic, Mix Acupuncture and Wellness. Trees aligned the property and a trail lead its way from the park across the street up into the woods behind the buildings. I was going to meet Sharon, a licensed acupuncturist of five years, to talk about the community acupuncture clinic she is graciously offering to Recovery Beyond, and to learn more about how acupuncture can help treat addiction. I was also curious to see the Enso Center itself, as they are generously offering several classes to Recovery Beyond program participants and volunteers.
Sharon has been a licensed acupuncturist for the past five years. A graduate of the Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine, she completed an internship at a methadone clinic in Seattle where she performed community acupuncture for those struggling with addiction (check out NADA – National Acupuncture Detoxification Association https://acudetox.com/). She and her husband, Jason, also went to Guatemala to offer health treatments to a community there, and both reveled at the power of acupuncture treatment on diabetics within this community. It gave me chills to listen to them talk about how, within a little over a week, they were able to observe blood sugar levels drop to healthy levels in diabetics using acupuncture.
Sharon and Jason own the Enso Center. They both exude a comforting, calm, aligned energy. Jason has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years now and offers a variety of classes at the center, from Qigong to Taekwondo to Archery. Sharon runs her acupuncture practice out of their home and her clinic promotes healing through it’s warm, inviting, and calm ambiance and her expertise. They kindly offered me a tour of the clinic and the center and let me try out these beautiful, ornate, antique vibrating bowls filled with water that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system when you rub their handles (if you go, you must try these. I like a challenge and getting the bowls to vibrate was much harder than it looked.)
Why acupuncture for treating addiction, you might ask? It’s a complex explanation, but in essence, acupuncture treats all three parts of the person: the mind, body, and spirit. Addiction overpowers and consumes all three of these areas. Acupuncture lessens the intensity of the effects of detoxification on the body and stimulates the nervous system. It also releases energy blockages and nourishes energy deficient areas.
For those with addiction, Sharon recommends coming for a treatment either once a week or once every two weeks. She needles points in the ear to help treat addiction. The ear is considered to be a microcosm of the body; hence it can be used to treat the whole body. The treatment lasts about 30-45 minutes and is done in a community setting, where several others are together in a room also receiving a treatment. The community setting allows for people to heal together. While the needles are hair-thin, some people still prefer to have a needle-less treatment, which is absolutely a possibility. There are several options for this including acupressure (pressure applied to the points), beads (tiny stickers with metal beads that are attached over the points), tuina (massage of the points), cupping (cups applied to points where the skin is suctioned into the cup), and gua sha (gently scraping along the skin).
I highly recommend giving acupuncture a chance. The first community acupuncture clinic will be offered at the end of August. Check out Recovery Beyond’s calendar of events to register. You may hate it, but you might also love it. As Sharon shared with me, people feel relaxed afterward and it’s amazing to see people find a way back to their bodies again.
Acupuncture is not for everyone, but many do find relief from the practice. Always make sure to consult with your doctor prior to receiving a treatment and do not disregard professional medical advice or treatment before undertaking a new healthcare regimen or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read in this article. Recovery Beyond is sharing this piece for informational purposes only, and none of this information is meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Recovery Beyond does not provide medical advice.