Straight to the point
An ancient Chinese medicine will help to achieve a cleansed and balanced body and mind

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 04/99) - Moving her fingers over the patient's back, feeling for just the right point to insert a long, fine acupuncture needle, Elise Bohemier slowly guides the pin into place.

A graduate of Cegep de Rosemont, the only school in Quebec that teaches acupuncture, Bohemier sinks the needle and rotates it gently between her fingers.

She stops when she physically feels the flexible needle reach its mark.

"It feels like something grabs the needle," she says.

"All of a sudden something is attracted to it and it can't move easily any more."

The blockage she feels is the person's energy. It may be a tight ball in the shoulder or the point where someone's migraine headaches originate.

Once a series of needles is inserted, between eight and 16, Bohemier may add heat with the ancient Chinese herb moxibustion or a lamp. An electrical current, massage or pulsing of the needle are other techniques that stimulate the troubled area.

"All of the points on the body work together through canals and energies," says Bohemier.

"For a pain in the shoulder, I will use techniques to pull the energy towards the foot. When you have too much energy in one area, you call it away through other points."

Emotional problems and ailments with organs can also be treated -- a 3,000-year-old Chinese belief that Yin and Yan, or all aspects of a person's body, mind and lifestyle, work as a balanced whole.

"Each organ has an emotion. For example, the emotion of the kidney is fear. If I treat the kidney, it will help to eliminate a person's fear," she says.

"Acupuncture sessions can be very powerful or emotional because of the redirecting of energies."

Initial treatments may take the patient to the crux of their problem -- treating anxiety may provoke a bit of the ailment before cleansing it.

"It's an internal cleansing for the body, I am very careful to progress slowly with treatments."

Bohemier says people generally don't feel the needle once it's inside, but they may feel increased circulation and movement in the body.

When all of the needles are inserted, she leaves the room for about 20 minutes.

Most people feel very relaxed, as the treatment helps the body and mind reach a balanced state. Bohemier says it's important to achieve that equilibrium, otherwise the problems will continue to resurface.