As practitioners, we give our clients customized, individualized care. We intentionally treat one person at a time, applying the fullness of our focus to each individual. We do this because awareness and presence are required for important, healthy changes to occur and take root in our lives.
Although there is a national certifying body for acupuncturists, not all acupuncture is the same. Because the medicine is so old and because it has been taught and practiced in countries around the world, many different styles of acupuncture exist.
Our style is classical Chinese medicine. In classical acupuncture, medicine and health are regarded as arts that are informed by an understanding of our place in the natural world. Thanks to a straightforward, elegant, and thorough understanding of human physiology and pathology as laid out in a variety of classical texts, the classical acupuncturist treats choosing among 74 channel systems.
Click here to learn more about our training and credentials.
My undergraduate work (at The College of William & Mary) was in English and French; this essentially meant that I spent lots of time reading, writing, and thinking. Part of what drew me to Chinese medicine – and what holds me here – is its endless emphasis on thoughtfulness and presence of mind.
There is nothing dull or rote about acupuncture and herbal medicine; they are both at once timeless and spontaneous.
Understanding the universal ways of life – birth, growth, sickness, wellness, aging, death – and holding that knowledge while treating the individual person is a defining characteristic of practicing this medicine. For me, this style of helping people to find and maintain wellness in their lives is profoundly meaningful and satisfying.
I think acupuncture is wonderful. I know “wonderful” is overused, but I mean it intentionally here: practicing acupuncture fills me and my clients with wonder.
What’s so wonderful about acupuncture?
An acupuncture treatment can give you a direct experience of what healing is, and can remind you that life doesn’t have to be a struggle.
This is wonderful to me, but I understand that it can be easy to lose sight of the wonder of healing in our modern world. We have so many interventions for any given health problem that we often confuse treatment with healing. In other words, it’s easy to think that a Band-Aid heals a cut, but only the body can heal the cut. The Band-Aid’s role is to make healing easier by protecting the cut from infection.
My point is that healing is natural and spontaneous—it’s what you do if you’re alive!
So, you might be wondering now, “if healing is natural, why do we have disease?” I believe the answer is that sometimes we get stuck in life, and healing gets stalled out. Usually when this happens, we know that something’s off, but we might not know what. Even if we do know what’s off, we don’t know how to make it right again. So we feel stuck with a disease, cut off from healing, and probably overwhelmed. Often, this is when we need help. And I do mean help, not fixing.
I don’t believe there is such a thing as someone healing someone else.
Healing, in my experience, is much like learning. No teacher can learn you (meaning make you understand something), but a great teacher inspires students to discover their own eagerness and ability to learn.
This is how I see my role as a practitioner. I think of myself as a guide to healing. My first task when we start working together is to get to know you. What obstacles are you struggling with? What are your strengths? Then I set about helping you to use your own strengths to resolve these obstacles or to find detours around them.
This might sound like an intellectual process, but one of the wonders of acupuncture is its ability to connect the realms of mind and body. The obstacles that we can address with acupuncture are not just mental hang-ups or unconscious body processes. (Learn what acupuncture treats here.)
Instead, needling an acupuncture point brings your conscious awareness to that area, while influencing involuntary processes such as nervous system patterns, biochemical reactions, and fluid balances. This junction creates the opportunity for healing.
The needle is like an arrow that points out to the rest of the body, “Hey, something’s not right here. This is what this area needs.”
This sets up a cascade of events that helps you to resolve the obstacles that have kept you stuck. I believe that when we work together this way the possibilities for healing are virtually endless.
Brian leads The Lantern Project’s workshops.