• Sarah Smith, R.Ac.

Accessing the Spirit Within According to Chinese Medicine

With 2020 behind us and 2021 ahead, and a whole different paradigm in which we live with COVID, I want to address the spiritual wellbeing of our Cowichan Valley members. What are the spiritual hygiene practices you are partaking in to up-keep your spiritual health? There comes a point for many folks who find themselves midway through a day during the winter months asking, “How many hours before bed time? ”. This was undoubtedly the clinic room catchphrase from patients in 2020. What I have found most interesting reflecting on the clinic’s year-end is how this sentiment was there in all my patients, not just the working demographic. I actively cultivate opportunity to work in diverse demographics and am trained with techniques that allowed the age range of my patients to span from 6 months old to 95 years old. For these reasons, I found it particularly noteworthy that it was more than just a busy work/life balance that was burning my patients out. If my 14 and 82-year-old patients were equally talking to me about their concern of their lack of drive and lack of will to do anything, there was a link other than factors such as age and work. Most people come to the clinic for physical reasons. What I aim to address in clinic are patient’s physical concerns as well as the more subtler realms of their being that have an effect on their everyday lives. The Chinese saw human beings as body, mind, and spirit all at once. What my experience of being in clinic continues to humbly remind me is that there is more to our beings than the pores that sweat, the eyes that cry the tears, or the muscles that run us to the sea. There is a force within us beyond physical that engages us in the game of life. It is this wellness of this force that brings us on the court or keeps us on the sidelines everyday. This force I am referring to for the purpose of this article, I would also like to label as our spirit. There are over 500 points on the human body that we use to heal and support with, and there are four points amidst them that have enchanted me and wowed me during the COVID 19 Pandemic. My belief is that all people should have equal rights to health care, and in case you cannot get into the clinic, we will bring some of these ancient power tools of acupressure points to your own healing hands now. With your thumb and index finger of your dominant hand, hold both left and right sides of the following points at the same time if you're able and count for 60 seconds with about a 3 pound pressure. Repeat as needed to boost your spiritual energy stores. For Acupuncture point location note the picture measurements: 2 cun= 2 thumb widths away from the midline. These 4 points also have a strong effect on supporting the lungs, which is another added benefit as we adapt and find harmony in our masks. KID 24- ‘Spirit Burial Ground’: This is for the patient who has been so heavily burdened or traumatized that they have virtually given up and seem unreachable. This point has the ability to resurrect the drive to live, even in the hard times. It is able to restore and revive one’s spark of joy. KID 25- ‘Spirit Storehouse’: Think of this point filling you up like a weekend retreat! It is a place of refuge to fill up your reserves in hard times. The patient needing this point will be nearly empty; lacking the will, drive, or determination to carry on. Many times, when a patient describes “fatigue” for which there is no physical explanation, it is a call for this spirit storehouse to be filled leaving one hopeful and uplifted. It is an excellent point to reawaken hope and wonder. KID 26- ‘Amidst Elegance’: Think of this point as an inspiring hike in the forest on a sunny day, with light filtering through the leaves. The patient needing this point feels as though they are simply going through the motions of life rather than feeling enchanted or joyful in the everyday existence of being alive. They may not feel connected to anyone, not even themselves. Using this point can bring senses of beauty, mastery, self-respect and humanitarian love. KID 27-‘Spirit Storehouse’: This point is like a COSTCO on coupon day. One will find everything here for almost every need. This is for the patient who needs support on an over-arching depletion level; all shelves in their figurative pantry are bare and need restocking, even the spice cabinets. Using this allows access to new vitality and creates accessibility for and abundance of resources to be utilized. Each day in clinic I am enchanted by my patients' beautifully complex bodies, brains and spirits. I hope these wee tools allow you to fill your spiritual cups so they are overflowing. Without spirit, there may be existence, but there can be no real enchanted everyday life.

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