12 Reasons to Get Acupuncture in 2012

By Sara Calabro, AcuTake

There has never been a better time to get acupuncture. The reasons are infinite (in our humble, unbiased opinion), but here are 12 of the most compelling motivations for making acupuncture a priority this year.

1. It’s not about adding more “stuff.”
The driving idea behind acupuncture is that we’re already in possession of everything we need to be well. The holidays, while meaningful, are often a time of excess—too many presents, too much food and alcohol. The new year is an ideal time to embrace what we have rather than what we want. Acupuncture teaches us to do this.

2. Gratitude becomes evident.
In teaching us to behold rather than crave, acupuncture inspires gratitude. Our healthcare system, so heavily reliant on externally manufactured diagnostic tools and therapies, sends a message that we are not enough. Acupuncture reminds us of how much potential we inherently possess.

3. There’s no technology required.
We live in an over-digitized world—and it’s not just about the iPads, Pods and Phones under our Christmas trees. Mainstream medicine is obsessed with technology, too. MRIs, CT scans, and lab tests are ordered before laying a hand on the patient; antibiotics and antidepressants are recommended as easily as cough drops. This emphasis on quick fixes prevents people from distinguishing how they actually feel from what a machine tells them they feel. The simplicity of acupuncture helps us remain present in the process of achieving health.

4. Patience is a virtue.
Not only does the low-tech nature of acupuncture keep us connected to how we feel, but it also makes us more patient. Technology has birthed and bred an “I want it now” society. With some exceptions, acupuncture does not work overnight, especially for chronic conditions. It is an ongoing process that requires an investment of time and a willingness to let go of the assumption that medicine must provide instant gratification.

5. Context matters.
Occupy Wall Street taught us the dangers of looking at things in isolation. Whether a protester’s personal beef was with fuel, foreclosures or food, the fundamental issue raised by the movement is a failure to think holistically. Acupuncture looks at how root imbalances affect the whole system, a much needed perspective in these imbalanced financial times.

6. One size does not fit all.
Part of seeing things contextually is understanding that every person and situation is different. Unlike biomedicine, which links textbook symptoms to pre-defined treatment strategies, acupuncture works with each person’s unique constitution and circumstances to arrive at his or her own definition of health. Acupuncture assists people in discovering what health means to them.

7. It’ll open your mind.
Acupuncture requires us to think about health in entirely new ways. Despite noble efforts by many to find one, there is no biomedical equivalent for qi. Acupuncture turns mainstream medical tenets on their head. It reminds us that there are multiple ways of seeing the world, an especially useful viewpoint as we enter an election year.

8. It’s a solid investment in the future.
Speaking of elections, something we’re sure to hear a lot about this year is healthcare costs. Not only is acupuncture an effective way to trim current spending on prescriptions and medical testing, but as preventive medicine it decreases long-term spending on the chronic conditions that become more prevalent and expensive as we age. Widespread adoption of acupuncture would drastically reduce overall healthcare costs.

9. Affordable options are increasing.
Last year, the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture, or POCA, was born. It’s a multi-stakeholder cooperative that welcomes anyone with an interest in affordable acupuncture, including patients, acupuncturists, local businesses, etc. This means more money and manpower behind the community movement, which potentiates more affordable acupuncture clinics in neighborhoods near you.

10. Change is good.
They say the only constant is change. This adage gets proven again and again, day after day, everywhere from publicized international conflicts to private battles with illness. From an acupuncture perspective, change is the primary ingredient for becoming a healthier person. While conventional medicine requires us to think in absolutes, acupuncture considers even the most subtle changes to be significant.

11. Aren’t you curious?
Surveys conducted last year revealed that more hospitals than ever are offering acupuncture. The media couldn’t get enough of the military’s use of it. Critics’ rants became increasingly inaccurate and desperate. Something so worthy of attention must be pretty powerful.

12. The road less traveled is the one worth taking.
It’s not always easy to embrace acupuncture. Most doctors, as well as some family, friends and colleagues, regard mainstream medicine as the only acceptable form of healthcare. The constant barrage of pharmaceutical advertising is hard to ignore. It takes courage to go against the grain. Acupuncture, although becoming more popular, is still not the norm. It requires a conscious commitment to understanding ourselves in a way that the majority shuns. This is the harder path toward health but ultimately the most rewarding.