My partner and I saw a flier for an acupuncture study for couples. Both of us use acupuncture, so we tore off the strip and agreed to sign up.
The study helped us tune into each other’s energy at a deeper energy. It was fun to go to a medical appointment together, to learn how to feel each other’s pulse and to hear what it meant through the Chinese acupuncture system; we liked looking and learning about each other’s tongue; we began to see each other in a different dimension.
Russ says there is little available in the community for couples. The only thing I’m aware of is when a woman is pregnant and the father goes with her for breathing lessons.
Having four appointments over a month, doing the paperwork, observing our feelings towards each other, and monitoring our fights and intimacy level, we found we drew closer and tuned in to each other’s energy at a deeper level.
After the study I interviewed Russ, here is what he has to say:
What first inspired you to work with acupuncture for couples?
After spending many years doing couples work with my wife, I started compiling some of our notes into a book. That turned into 2 books, and now workshops as well.
One day, I was at a meditation retreat and it just occurred to me that I needed to be something different than just “an Acupuncturist”. That’s when the idea of couples acupuncture came to me. I knew it was going to be successful because it was both unique, and made perfect sense.
What is your hypothesis about the outcome of couples getting acupuncture together?
I once heard the statistic that 60% of all medicine is placebo. Sometimes, it’s just your intention that brings healing. The body is an amazing chemical factory.
When it comes to relationships though, one of the key factors that determine the day-to-day happiness is simply the ability to be present and not react negatively just because your buttons get pushed a little.
My theory is that when people in a committed relationship put intention on their relationship, things improve. Whether that intention is on their health, their emotions, or their level of intimacy, positive results are likely.
Has this hypothesis been born out in your relationship, and in what you’ve seen so far in the study?
I guess in some ways, I’ve seen this played out in my relationship as well as in many of the couples we’ve coached with over the years. But, I’m the only person doing this couples acupuncture so there’s not really anywhere to get confirmation from.
So far, what I’ve seen is that statistically, some couples improve and others stay about the same. Subjectively though, everyone reports extremely positive results, feeling better, happier, calmer, less explosive, more connected, etc.
How do you envision this work to have impact? i.e. in what professions? What communities?
The design of our medical system is focusing on the individual. It’s only in therapy where we sometimes see group interaction, or in the case of marriage counseling, a place where people in a relationship can discuss what’s going on for them.
What I’d like to see is a shift towards more resources for couples that don’t start with the thought that there’s something wrong. Just like people go to a show or a movie, or out to dinner, I’d like to see Couples Acupuncture, and other Couples based relationship improving activities become more commonplace.
That’s why I’m developing my Couples Night Out program. It starts with a Couples Acupuncture treatment, but is followed up with a meal where the food choices are designed to support each individual’s constitution. As an example, a couple that is experiencing a lack of energy, or passion, might be steered towards more spicy foods in an environment with live music.
Do you see it as your niche?
Most definitely! I realize I’m trying to climb a mountain here, by creating a new paradigm, but I’m up for the challenge. As much as I feel passionate about helping individuals through Traditional Chinese Medicine, I’m equally as excited about this program.
Would you teach it to other acupuncturists?
That’s the plan. Once my own practice is successfully operating with a majority of my patients being couples, I’ll be offering a program to train other Acupuncturists how to not only do the actual treatments, but also how to market to couples, what other resources they need to offer, and how to reach out to the community to help build more excitement around this unique method of blending love and medicine.
What indicators from Chinese medicine/Acupuncture do you use in the study to show change? (i.e. tongue, pulse)
We always feel the pulse (not take the pulse, but actually feel for the pulse qualities, strength, depth, etc), look at the tongue, and discuss previous treatment results. Traditionally, tongue and pulse are the major diagnosis tools.
What we don’t always discuss, but what I also use are how things appear. Specifically the skin, eyes, the energy of the patient, their voice, etc.
Please say anything else you’d like to say about this work or the study.
I’ve been promoting the study for a few months now and while I know for a fact that a few hundred people have taken the tear off from my flyer, the number of people who have called are much less than I would have expected. People are busy, I know this.
That being said, I hope your readers use this opportunity to take a look at their relationship and see where focusing on the health of their couple fits in with the rest of their goals. You’ve gotta make time for things like this. There’s never going to be “the perfect time for a Couples Acupuncture Treatment.”
But, if you want to try something new, something based on thousands of years of medicine, and with the potential to produce more love, more connection, and more intimacy in your relationship, I think this should be near the top of the list.
Russ Shulman EAMP, LAc
Balanced Life Acupuncture Clinic
6300 9th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115-8516
About Julene Weaver
Julene T. Weaver, MA/ABS, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, Washington. She works with adults, and couples of all persuasions.
At the core of her philosophy is a deep belief in our ability to heal and change.
Having worked with people with chronic illnesses, she knows how helpful it is to use our whole being in the healing process; emotions, creativity, spirituality, and physicality.
She uses eclectic healing modalities and alternative approaches: the study of the healing energy of plants, (she has Certification in the Wise Woman Tradition through Susun Weed), and working with the body (using Pat Ogden’s Sensorimotor Psychotherapy as well as her practice of Continuum Movement since 1988).
From the Wise Woman Tradition she uses a scale of action that starts at zero, the vital “Do Nothing,” or “Invisible” step. This with active Mindfulness begins the process from within of knowing and healing oneself.
With couples she uses Stan Tatkin’s Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy, which examines early attachments that are played out in the relationship.
Julene has a strong foundation in Family Systems (also known as Family of Origin) that is helpful to understand both individuals and how couples relate with each other.
Visit her website for more information: www.julenetweaver.com
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