Acupuncture and gardening have a lot in common

Acupuncture and gardening have a lot in common

It may sound daft, but they actually do.

When I was studying acupuncture, purely by chance I had to start looking after a big garden. It wasn’t something I had done before and it was a bit of a shock for me. It took a lot of time and ef-fort. Parts of the garden were quite overgrown, so I had to spend time clearing away the plants that were overshadowing and choking other plants. Some parts of the garden were too wet and the plants there tended to rot. Other parts of the garden were too dry and the plants there were often wilted and withered. I wanted to try and save as many of the plants as possible so I spent quite a long time making sure that plants that liked it wet lived in the wet part of the garden, and that plants in the dry part got enough water. All the plants had to be able to get enough light in order to flourish. And flourish they did! Plants with strong roots were able to produce spectacular and beautiful blooms in the summer.

At the same time, I was learning about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I was learning that the whole of the body needs to be nourished and moistened but that some parts prefer to be more wet, whilst other parts need to be more dry. I learnt that the energy of some organs can stagnate and overwhelm the correct functioning of other organs. In those cases one needs to clear the excess energy away so that it doesn’t overwhelm the functioning of the other organs isn’t overwhelmed. In treating illness, the acupuncturist tries to restore harmony so that all of the organs can work togeth-er to maintain a healthy body. Like plants, people want to flourish and reach their full potential, to get their ‘moment in the sun’.

One day when I was out ankle-deep in mud cutting back overgrown brambles the penny dropped: acupuncture and gardening have a lot in common! Chinese Medicine is very much based on the observation of nature. The ancient philosophers looked at how nature moves and realised the same rules apply to the bodily landscape. After all, the body is part of nature and subject to the same forces. In many ways people are like gardens, and we practitioners of TCM are like gardeners: our aim is to cultivate life.

I want my clients to grow, to achieve physical balance and emotional fulfilment. When they do, their spirit can shine like a beautiful bloom… and my job is done.