The other day, I mentioned my terrific acupuncturist, how one of the things that I like about her is that she talks through treatment strategies with me. Acupuncture is based on the same philosophy as shiatsu, so there is some overlap in our knowledge. I understand where the primary meridians are, and I know what it means when she says we need to bring up my kidneys. The difference is that she knows much, much more than I do. When I don’t understand why she’s needling a certain point, or when I can’t tell from the sensation what point it is, I ask, and she explains, and it’s interesting to me. It’s not uncommon for her to remark “this will help with your headache,” or “this will get you sleeping well.”
I frequently learn a little something. I usually take it pretty seriously. As much as I love acupuncture, I actually dislike the needles part. Not a big fan of pain, it turns out, so I steel myself and put on my serious face.
During a recent treatment, instead of “this will help you with your digestion,” she said, “this will really help with your running piglet.”
This was not something I’d heard of. This was not something to steel myself against. Running piglet sounded downright silly, though I understood the (not very funny) concept right away. Much of what I’ve found online when looking into running piglet pertains to running piglet syndrome or disorder, essentially meaning panic disorder, but I found this description of the qi itself on the Pacific College website: “A sensation of qi rushing upwards from the lower abdomen to the chest, epigastrium, and throat.” Even though I was not experiencing full-blown running piglet syndrome, the imagery resonated with how I think of anxiety: the fluttery feeling in the abdomen, the scampering sensation of worry.
I won’t pretend to have an in-depth understanding of running piglet as a full syndrome in eastern medicine; I don’t totally understand the channels or the appropriate treatment, and I am not an expert in panic disorder. But I do know a little something about anxiety, and I think I understand running piglet in its mildest form, anxious heartbeat like tiny hoofs, sense of control slipping just the littlest bit out of grasp, piglet wriggling free. These are the symptoms I understand, and where I know massage can help.