How To Identify an Acupuncturist at a Restaurant

Bronwyn's picture

I read a blog the other day that made me laugh. It was about the neurotic things acupuncturists do to keep healthy. So painfully accurate, it was like laughing into a fun-house mirror, and it inspired me to create my own list. Here are a few of the silly, batty, and weird things I do to stay healthy.


Drink tepid water. Occasionally at a restaurant I’ll get lazy and ask for a glass of water, forgetting my usual “with no ice, please”. Without fail, I’ll receive a tall glass packed with ice, garnished with water. Usually I resort to spooning it out and waiting for the water to warm up before drinking it. One of the first principles we learn in TCM school is about Yin and Yang and how they manifest in the body. One simple way to understand this is through temperature. Your body is warm: that is yang, life-force. When warmth disappears, life is gone like the slowly cooling embers of a dying fire. Your digestive fire breaks down, absorbs, transforms and transports food for assimilation with the various tissues of your body. It first has to warm up the cold water before it can do it’s job. That’s a lot of extra work for your digestive system to undergo for a simple glass of water. Hint: Identify an acupuncturist by her side-plate of melting ice.


Stay warm. This manifests variously as drinking warm tea, carrying an extra cardigan, and wearing scarves in every conceivable kind of weather. I would personally wear a hat through every waking hour if I could. (Why a hat? Simple: the best coat is a hat. Sorry for the zen koan, but most of your body heat escapes through the top of your head, so keeping it covered is the most efficient way to stay warm.)  Keeping the wind off your neck and head will protect you from sickness. In TCM theory, the wind is like an arrow that cuts through the exterior of the body, bringing illness to the interior. Hint: Know an acupuncturist by the extra scarf he brings to summer evenings on the patio.


Tongue viewing. The tongue is an internal organ that can be viewed from the outside. You can tell lots about a person by observing their body: skin, hair, posture, gait, eyes. But looking at an internal organ belies deeper patterns about the basic functioning of a body. A healthy tongue should be light red with a thin white coating. There should be no swelling or teeth-marks, variously coloured patches, or peeled coating. Each one of these can indicate specific pathologies. Hint: That guy over there viewing his tongue in the back of a soup spoon? You guessed it: Acupuncturist.


We talk about poop. Yup, even at a restaurant. This is totally reasonable, acceptable, helpful, and downright fascinating information. A good acupuncturist can tell your birthday based on your stools. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but the importance of stools can not be overstated; we learn about what’s happening inside our bodies by observing what comes out. Hint: Who’s that woman at the next table using loving detail and wild hand gestures to describe a particularly satisfying recent bowel movement? Oh, hey, that’s my acupuncturist!


All kidding aside, some of the more esoteric aspects of traditional chinese medicine can be very instructive. And, of course, although there are excellent general principles, all recommendations are made on an individual basis. I look at each case and distill all of your health information into a diagnosis unique to you.  

If you have any questions, call Acubalance and book in a 15 minute consultation. I’m always happy to chat.