closeup of a white chrysanthemumAcupuncture wasn’t my first career. I started out in the arts, another field entirely, but after a while I decided I wanted something different for myself. I wanted to feel more satisfied personally with my work, and I wanted something that was a truer reflection of me.

I wanted to go into a helping field but I wasn’t sure which one. So I decided to ask different kinds of professionals about their work life. I had learned from experience that there is a big difference between the fantasy and the reality of any career. I wanted to know about the day-to-day experience of a chiropractor, a physical therapist, a psychologist, and an acupuncturist.

A profound moment came for me when I was speaking to a physical therapist who was top in his field and very dedicated to his work. He said, “you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself who you really are.” I thought about this for weeks afterwards. It was this comment that helped me to choose the profession of acupuncture.

I decided that the daily work of acupuncture would suit me well. And I learned along the way that there is more than one kind of acupuncture.

Five Element acupuncture requires presence, patience, and listening. In short, it is medicine with heart. You need logic and structured thinking to manage a treatment plan. But there is also room for intuition, symbolic experiences, and connection with nature. This is how I see the world, and I felt it was important for me to own all of these aspects of myself within my professional life.

In Five Element acupuncture, the heart helps us determine what a patient needs. In our tradition, the heart is considered the “emperor” of the body, mind and spirit. As a practitioner, the best way to understand what your patient needs is to allow that wisest part of you to see the truth of who your patient is. From there, you can determine a course of action that will help them heal and be happy.

Modern life gives us few opportunities to be seen in this way. Most of us have only brief moments to sit and talk about our personal experiences with another person. Even then, we may not give ourselves permission to say what we genuinely feel.

The clinic is a space where patients can take a break from life and be deeply cared for and heard. In the treatment room, patients often say “I have never told anyone this before…” and sharing that story might open a space for the body’s systems to flow in a healthier way. Because Five Element acupuncture practitioners are trained to listen with the heart, deep and profound healing can occur. There is no other medicine quite like it.