We’ve been eating a lot of cake lately at Academy for Five Element Acupuncture. Our AFEA community is populated with a lot of foodies- most of our students love to cook or bake, and they love to share. The cakes have been everything from vegan, to gluten-free, to chocolate decadence. The chocolate cake pictured here was a gift from one intern to the rest of her class as they finish up a long weekend. Her note reads, ‘To Class 27, in the middle of a long stretch.’  It’s indicative of how sharing food aims to bring us closer as a community. We share food on birthdays and to acknowledge academic milestones.  Sometimes, there’s no occasion other than to say, ‘I’m thinking of you. Thought this would make you smile.’ Because as delicious as all the cakes have been, they’ve really just been a vehicle to nourish the collective spirit.

Nourishment is a key principle in our program. Finding ways to properly nourish one’s self is an important aspect of the inner development of the practitioner. We ask our students to take care of themselves, to work on their own healing (which means something different for every individual) before they step into the treatment room. Food is obviously a form of nourishment, and these days it has become synonymous with comfort. The American diet in particular tends to focus on food as a form of comfort. Just think about the list of foods we specifically call ‘comfort foods:’  the sweet foods like chocolate, cake, pie and ice cream; or the savory foods like french fries, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes. We indulge in food to celebrate, to commiserate, to comfort ourselves and our friends.

More often than not that indulgence in ‘comfort food’ is destructive rather than nourishing. The shared experience of food isn’t inherently positive. It’s our intention of treating food as a shared or social experience that gives it meaning. It’s the love that inspires the sharing of the cake and the accompanying laughter that make the moment truly delicious.  Because we seek to treat the heart and the spirit, right along with the physical.

And so, how do you nourish yourself? Do you create communal food experiences? If you do, we’ll be having a lunch at the Open House in June for those interested in sharing their stories, their questions and their plans for the future. Please join us! In the meantime, you can feast your eyes on our vegan cupcake display from Class 26’s Commencement this past January: