Ask the Acupuncturist: Does Acupuncture Work?

It’s so insulting when people ask me, a licensed acupuncturist, if acupuncture ‘works.’

I dunno – what do you consider ‘work’? Do pharmaceutical drugs ‘work’? Does yoga ‘work’? Does breathing, drinking water, eating regularly ‘work’? Does staying out of an abusive relationship ‘work’? Who is working? Me? You? God?

Do you want to know about living a better life and healing in the present moment or is it just about getting there getting there getting there getting there?

I wonder if it’s worth distilling a whole cosmology into one or two sentences or if the person asking is just trying to lure me into an intricate trap made up of their own insanity.

An insane person is one who believes all the thoughts we think are true instead of all thoughts we think are the observation of life living through us. There is a difference – one person is in pain and one person is at peace. There is always going to be ‘work’!

My Morning Routine

So Labor Day has come and gone.

I woke up this morning feeling a lot of heaviness all around, like sadness and depression in a collective sense about the end of the weekend that felt heavy in the air. Even my dog looked depressed, couldn’t even lift his head to give me a kiss goodbye as I walked out the door. I know this is a hard transition as the ‘official’ end of summer, and it can feel dreary to a lot of people. 

So I wanted to share this card (which is also the same one Doreen Virtue pulled for her weekly reading) with the message that now is the time to make a healthful ritual and routine that brings some positive changes for you, especially important during this time of Late Summer in the Earth element in Chinese medicine.

This is the element season about letting go, transition, thoughtfulness, and the balance of self care with caring for others.

What’s even more interesting is it’s an affirmation in the morning, which coincides with the Chinese clock when the energetic nature of the Earth element is most available – from the hours of 7am to 11am specifically.

Especially if you know you are a sensitive person and you tend to take on the energy of others and situations around you very easily, a morning routine is absolutely essential. We want to start the day on the right foot, feeling grounded, feeling excited about our goals and our work, not in a reactionary state to the problems of the world, personal dramas, being pulled left and right (which you can imagine doesn’t make anyone very productive or focused on the day’s tasks or objectives).

So my routine:

  • I wake up and before opening my eyes I say “thank you for this new day, thank you that I get to live in this body and in the life in a new way today.”
  • 10-20 minutes sitting meditation.
    A note: Meditation places me into a field of possibility, positioning me into a higher conscious mindset. The feelings and images I conjure as I ‘create’ the day change my thought patterns in my brain so that when I wake up I think differently, I act and react differently, my vibe is totally different and therefore different people and opportunities are attracted to me. Plus I don’t get as frazzled and anxious about minute things. Mindset is EVERYTHING.
  • Use spiritual tools like oracle cards and books with powerful and positive messages are important to set the tone to the day as well. Anything to uplift and inspire. I go on Instagram for Doreen Virtue’s daily card reading, read my horoscope, read a page from Marianne Williamson’s ‘Everyday Miracles’ with little passages, read a random passage from the Tao te Ching, the I Ching, or the Bible.
  • Brendan Burchard, author of ‘The Charge’ also recommends 20 minutes of stretching in the morning which I LOVE and always gives me SO much energy. Usually I do all this before breakfast.
  • + Tea + Coffee = the best companions to any routine! A big glass of water with lemon, ginger, or other fruits add extra electrolytes and detoxification from that long sleep where the body was cleansing.
  • Sometimes in my workout or as I’m getting ready I’ll play some positive uplifting music I can sing along to! Singing is also part of the Earth element!

This is what has worked for me, from personal experience and from my business coach. Depending on the day, I may repeat parts of it in the evening too, as I can get ungrounded and my head full of lots of stuff and information.

I know a lot of us aren’t morning people or talk about not having enough time, but if this is something calling to you from your higher guidance like it has for me recently- I hope this helps give you some more ideas.

Sending my love during this transitional time!!!

Bye, Crazy! Bye!

Environment is stronger than willpower.  ~ Yogananda

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.  ~ Steven Winterburn

Just recently I’ve moved home, back to my parents house in DC.

I’ll proudly state it. I AM living at my parents again and it rules (for the most part). Finally the Tower of my life has fallen like I knew it would… Saturn returned, the Hanged Man has been Hung… I’ll consider this the losing and winning of the game of life all in one serendipitous moment. Suddenly I see how situational things can machete (<– the autocorrect – I’m keeping it) the present moment and make a new moment occur.

In moving home however, I had to sacrifice my Victorian communal living house to begin this crucial step on my journey. I’ll miss it, so great, so beautiful, nestled into quiet Hyattsville with the best coffeeshop ever (where I had a stint) and the nice bike trails.

I’ll miss the wrap around porch, the flowering tree outside my window, the tall ceilings, the beautiful wood, jars of weird healthy shit in the kitchen.

What happened was a male roommate moved in across from my room this past April, and I noticed a recurrence in my body, mind and psyche of the trauma from when I was living with a stalker at my window. Even though I told my roommates I didn’t want him to move in, he moved in anyway.

As he settled in I felt this weird energy from him. I felt my routine and habits were being watched and noted. He was needy, and seeking my attention directly or indirectly from me all of the time. As it got worse, he would send out passive aggressive emails to the house citing me as reason for all his problems, which I see now was a way of getting attention from me.

I felt always needed by him. And because of this, I felt very unprotected in my own home, angry that I had to deal with this trauma again (have to get used to that feeling, because it will always be there), and scared because it felt out of control.

Many times this guy seemed severely disturbed to me. He would express himself erratically, be volatile and seethe in all these emotions or stew in silence. I truly felt like I was living with an insane person and I never knew what to expect from him.

He would complain, stew, use guilt against me every time I didn’t make breakfast for him and also eat my breakfast or other meals with him, or make time to hang out with him whenever I was home. I felt guilty for being in my room.  At its worst, he verbally abused me.

I had to change my schedule, my routine, my clothing, my demeanor to avoid contact with him and curb the neediness he threw in my direction just to preserve my sense of well being. Day in and day out, I felt this building pressure, which was causing me to crave sugar and eat erratically, I had my familiar symptoms of insomnia and anxiety, and sometimes what was crippling fear which was causing my hormones to go off kilter. I tip-toed around my room at night hearing my roommate across the hall – just as I did when I felt the stalker’s presence behind my window.

It was TOXIC, no one in the ‘Healing House’ was respecting or acknowledging this was going on, let alone acknowledging my trauma when I brought it up. The longer I resisted it the more it was hurting me.

Despite all my inner body signals to RUN AWAY I was persistent with having an open mind, changing my thinking and be open to something that ressembled friendship with this dude. My mind convinced me not to heed my intuition, ‘leaning in’ to the discomfort for the sake of learning, believing my stupid roommate when he called it ‘being in community’ – all these excuses and my own denial of what was meant to combust at any moment.

Unfortunately communal houses tend to draw out bad habits and hairy roles and expectations.

It was when I started going to therapy that I realized all that I was putting up with that I didn’t need to, and how I let myself violate my own boundaries, my own life which I desperately needed to live – not spending one minute longer dealing with his mood swings and anger, and these emails showing up in the middle of my workday blaming me for everything.

I am not alone in this story and that this will resonate for other sensitive women who feel out of control in their relationships, personal, romantic, whatever. There are sociopaths, narcissists, and mama’s boys who prey on people like us who know and who care.

Our society expects women to be caring and nurturing, to put our needs aside for others. Our society also values intellect, which means denying the part unexplained by science known as out intuition. By society’s standards, our intuition is false. We’re overreacting, we’re too emotional. We’re just plain making things up when we feel something is wrong.

When something is wrong let it be wrong!!! Please act on it! Trust your intuition above all!!! We are the only species who shuts this part of ourselves off and it gets us into lots and lots of trouble.

I am telling you this story because the respect and care we receive as women is directly proportional to what we feel we deserve inside and this is DIRECTLY reflected in our environment and in the people we are around and of course, what we attract.

There’s ‘leaning in’ to the discomfort and then there’s dealing with other people’s shit. As women we need to become absolutely transparent to this. Relationships and our natural ability to elevate them are part of the creation of community that’s unfolding in society right now and needs healing to be able to create stronger communities.

As an emotionally aware and intuitive woman who has suffered a lot by the way of sexual trauma and abuse with men, not only in this situation but in my past situations and relationships I cannot underscore how important it is for other women to:

a.) have other positive and viable female partnerships – this is SO important. They are the lifeblood of truth and are magical sources of healing
b.) trust your feelings/hunches/gut reactions – they are a vital compass leading you to a better life
c.) express with all the fire in your heart what you feel as a sign for change and do not back down or downplay anything about yourself for anyone. Let men/your partner figure out how to deliver what you need (or let them walk out of your life) and just be the Priestess herself in the meantime
d.) have faith in yourself to manifest your fairy tale!
e.) practice something daily to enhance self-worth – do this last one if you do anything.

This experience with my roommate was just one sad picture into something much bigger – a pattern I was attracting in my life with my relationships. I realize how intensely even the most superficial of relationships or transient of environments DO affect us. THESE ARE VITAL aspects of our life that bring us up or pull us down. It may seem small, but a hundred small things add up to something huge.

We have a right to our needs and to saying no with dignity and grace – this can also be considered divinely feminine, having boundaries. Finally taking a stand for myself in this regard is the gift of a lifetime.

It’s hard to step out of our perceptions and make new moves when our environment is keeping us in routines, reinforcing outmoded beliefs that we haven’t questioned yet. It’s a process unveiling what subconscious thing we are attached to that is, despite our best intentions, keeping us attached and miserable.

Once I let go of the house, the illusion I was living in of its potential fell away, and for the first time I really felt aware of how I had been mistreated and disrespected – like breaking up with someone who wasn’t good for you anyway. In my growing process I’ve learned to strive for and expect more love than what I’ve known ever before in my past growing up, more worth and value than I’ve ever thought was possible.

At my parents for this time, I already feel my energy returning, my insomnia and anxiety dissipating. Feeling more even. My life has become much simpler. It’s easier to get things done, and I feel I am making exponential moves towards my future.

It takes a leap of faith to change where we are, more courage than you can even stand, and trusting that where you end up will be better. The more we can let go, the more the bigger picture can arrive to who we really are and the kinds of places and people we really deserve to support our growth.

My cat Lynyrd and I are happy here. My parents are great roommates! And thank god for therapy. That is all!

Lena Dunham from “Girls” – best quote ever

Him: (Breaks up with her) You don’t know the person you are, that’s where the confusion is…You’re attracted to drama!


Her: (shakes head vigorously) You’re attracted to me. You’re intrigued by me. You think I’m a wild horse and you wanna tame me.

I understand all of that. It’s the new frontier of misogyny. Take a woman who’s in control of her life – and then silence her….(Smiles) And I’m up for it!