For many many years I have practiced the art of acupuncture. I have spent 50,000 hours in practice. Listening to the stories of women's lives and trying to ease suffering and return the body to normal function, make the system run better and optimise health. However, although each treatment may look similar, every time I go to the body the experience is different. Firstly, each patient is different; everyone needs different things. Secondly I myself am constantly changing. Thirdly our environment (what's in the news, politics, the weather and our outer experience) impacts on how we all feel. When the needles enter the body I firstly must find the right point. Next I make a connection with the Qi (the energy of the person). For me this is the sacred part and I am often 'in the zone' when I do this. I also unconsciously give gratitude at this moment .... I can't really explain it better than that. Perhaps grace is the best word to describe making a connection to another humans energy. I believe that without grace in this moment then healing or change may not occur. Then I decide what the body needs & where it needs it. I already have an idea about this from the chat at the start of the session. During this chat I try and listen with my heart: by that I mean that I try and hear not only what is spoken but also what is unspoken. What is the quality of the voice - is there grief there, or suppressed anger? I then feel the pulse and look at the tongue. Sometimes I like to see the needles as arrows of truth, messengers to the soul taking the message into the body where, like a seed, it can grow. I am also often working with blood flow; improving blood flow to the ovaries or the uterine lining to optimise fertility. At other times I feel like a mechanic using the needles to fine tune the car. Sometimes I feel like I am applying a sort of controlled injury to the body so that it is enlivened and optimal function is returned. And at other times the needles can bring deep euphoria & provide a soothing balm. Have I ever doubted it's usefulness? Yes, absolutely. I constantly ask myself "what am I actually doing here?" or "Am I still making a difference ?" Not to do so would be neglectful & disrespectful. In medicine we must always question; we must challenge ourselves and we must challenge others. Not for challenging sake but for progress. But, perhaps more importantly, we must also be humble. I never trust a practitioner who dismisses what I do without first experiencing it. How can you describe fruit if you have never tasted it? Never trust a physician who says they understand everything. All we can do is do our best, all medicine is limited and all humanity is flawed. As a wise teacher once taught me: "Emma, he who understands, he is the lucky one".