Category: Spiritual

Picture of the meeting room at Light & Dark Acupuncture, two comfortable chairs, a lamp and some tissues

On Authentic Connection, Privacy and Flatulence


There are a lot of legalities surrounding patient-practitioner relationships.  The first thing we cover in Professional Relationships 101 is obvious – these patients and practitioners shouldn’t be dating.  Beyond the obvious lessons on inappropriate practitioner behaviors, learning to be in a healthcare setting is all about mastering the art of being present with the person sitting in front of us.

I want my patients to feel like they are at home when they step into my clinic.  They can take their shoes off, sit in the comfy chair, sip on some comforting tea if they like, and tell me what’s on their mind about their health.  While we discuss the many aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health, my clients don’t have to feel like “patients” – they can feel like people.

When I sit with my patients and take in information about what is going on with their health and how it is impacting their life, I want the connection to be authentic.  Most of the time, it feels like chatting with a good friend (who happens to know a lot about herbs, the body, and how to stick needles into it).  These moments of authentic connection with my patients are so profound – we often laugh together, sometimes we cry together, and we share inspirational stories that lift our spirits and leave us feeling lighter and breezier than before.  In these moments, I am washed over with gratitude towards the patient who is with me in that moment.  Their willingness to share their stories, struggles and successes provides me with a deep well of inspiration to dip into when I need it the most.

Sincere human connection is the foundation for an abundant healing process.

Pain is a little more bearable when we feel seen and heard.  If you start any treatment with positive human connection, the possibility of symptom relief is greater. This approach rings true for internal disorders like digestive issues, musculoskeletal disorders that affect the muscles, tendons or bones, neurological disorders such as neuropathy and even psychological discomfort such as anxiety or grief.

Because my patients have courageously shared their health concerns with me, I take confidentiality laws very seriously.   Acupuncturists, along with doctors, counselors and other healthcare professionals, follow HIPPA guidelines to protect the privacy of their patient’s health records.  For this reason, we are not really supposed to say, “Hey! How’s it going?!” to our patients in public.

If I am Ernie’s acupuncturist, and I am treating him for flatulence (that is, farting for you teenagers and 50-year-old teens), and then I see him in public and say, “Hey, Ernie! How’s it going?” a few potentially embarrassing things may happen here.

  1. Ernie may think, “Oh, crap! She’s going to talk about my flatulence!” No patient should ever fear that their acupuncturist will do this in public.
  2. Ernie may be totally fine with me saying hello, and then introduce me to his friend, Bert, who says, “How do you two know each other.” Ernie enthusiastically answers, “She’s my acupuncturist!” and Bert, equally enthusiastically responds with, “Cool! What is she treating you for?!”  Ugh.  Now what?  A patient should never have to worry that their acupuncturist is going to talk about their flatulence in public.
  3. Ernie may see me, get nervous that I’m going to talk about his private health concerns and symptoms, and run screaming from the room, passing gas the whole way. Did I mention that no patient should ever have to experience this?

In actuality, flatulence is no laughing matter because most of my patients are too embarrassed to bring it up until their third or fourth appointment, and it can indicate serious digestive issues that need to be addressed.  Health issues can be uncomfortable and awkward to discuss, so it is imperative that practitioners provide a safe and comfortable environment where patients feel safe to discuss their concerns.

So, kick off your shoes – heck, I’ll do it too.  Trust that your privacy is as high of a priority to me as that of your health and well-being.  Be yourself.  Share what’s on your heart and what’s in your body in a way that feels relaxed and comfortable.  As a patient-practitioner team, we’ll tackle everything head on.  You don’t have to do it alone.

Painting of a couple doing the tangoWhy did I name my practice Light & Dark Acupuncture?

It’s about the dance.

The dance between the light and dark influences in our life.

The dance between feeling healthy, energized, alive and feeling stress, anxiety, pain and illness.

The dance between Eastern medicine and Western medicine.

The dance between science and that which cannot be measured.

The dance between courage and vulnerability.

These unrelenting dances are the guiding principles in my work.  They are never static.  They are always in flux.  I can count on that.  Balance is not a state that can be achieved because the state of our wellness is continuously evolving.

I do not “balance” my patients.  I help my patients achieve a state of flux that serves their health.

The Dance in Spirit

What is Light?

Light is having a sense of humor in the midst of life’s daily chaos.  It is celebrating life.  It is courage, growth, diversity, freedom, and aesthetics.  It is creating community and sharing our experience with others.  It is providing a safe space for my patients to shed light on their darkest corners by encouraging them to talk about their stressors, fears and vulnerabilities.  Most importantly, it is feeling completely accepted even in spite of our faults and failures and feeling connected to those around us.

What is Dark?

Dark is about the hard edges in life.  It’s reality.  We are busy; we make challenging decisions; we see horrific things happening around us and sometimes to us.  No matter how positive and loving we are, these things still exist.  They are our reality.  My patients know that life is hard – there is nothing more debilitating than physical and emotional pain.

“Dark” is in the name of my business because I walk with my patients in their darkness.  I encourage them to look their shadows in the eye and I stay present with them along the way.

I’m not the “Light, Rainbows and Skittles Acupuncturist.”

I will walk to hell with you and sit next to you there if that gives you the courage to face your demons. I treat those who wake up each day to encounter their suffering again, in spite of its insistent nagging.  I see their courage when they cannot.  I honor their warrior spirit as they confront these struggles time and time again.  I bear witness to their pain, so that they are not alone in their experience of it.

Most importantly, I encourage my patients to embrace their faults, failures and imperfections – to love themselves with these and not to disassociate from them.  To side-step the tougher side of life only strengthens a person’s fear of being vulnerable or defeat, and as my dear friend Granddaughter Crow says, “fear wants only one thing – for you to believe it’s real.”

Light & Dark shift their weight from lead to follow, in a magnificent tango called “life.”  I accept you exactly where you are in this perpetual dance between Light & Dark.  After all, constant change is the only consistent thing.

Light & Dark Acupuncture is honored to be your health dance partner.

The Dance in Science

Have you ever heard of the Fluid Mosaic Model of the Cell?  It’s a theory about the structure of a human cell’s membrane.  Trust me, you learned this in middle school, but I know you’ve probably spent the last few decades trying to forget everything you saw and heard in middle school.

It’s basic.  A cell has an outer skin, right? The skin keeps things out of the cell (sort of), and it is called a “membrane.”  On the outside of the membrane there are all kinds of things – proteins, carbohydrate molecules and various other fragments.  Together, all these molecules make a mosaic on the outside of a cell.  That’s why it’s a “mosaic” model.  (Art/science, science/art – the two are inextricably connected! Amazing!)

But where does the “fluid” part come in?

In the history of cell theories, the Fluid Mosaic Model was the first one to recognize the constant state of movement in a human cell – molecules move in and out of the cell membrane.  The mosaic of molecules on the membrane re-position and realign each second.  Microscopic particles flow through the membrane, moving in and out of the cell affecting its electrical charge, its pH, its shape and the activity inside of it.  The cell’s gel-like shape shifts constantly, like the blobs in a lava lamp from the 70’s, or the early 90’s, depending on how old you are… Shit.  Who am I kidding?  The lava lamp shall never die!

The cell is a living, breathing form of intelligence with it’s own fluid-like state of movement – an oscillating dance that never ends.*

*If you would like to learn more about the Fluid Mosaic Model of the Cell, watch this super nerdy, science-rific video on you tube: (Mr. Pollock, 2014).


Mr. Pollock (2014, October 13).  The Fluid Mosaic Model of the Cell Membrane.

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