Thoughts on dose

Measure_SpoonsHow much is too much, not enough, just right?

Dose applies to hands-on healing as much as it applies to pharmaceutical drugs and herbal formulas. When working with meridians and points, you are working directly with Qi (“chee”). Although difficult to comprehend, Qi (energy) is very real.
If your client feels exhausted or extremely hyper after their healing session, perhaps they were “over-dosed.” If they feel like nothing happened at all, perhaps they were “under-dosed.”  In my experience, the tendency with most of us is to over-dose as we strive to give our clients everything we have. Sometimes we give so much that we end up over whelming our clients.
As the years of experience build up, I think it is important for hands-on practitioners to recognize our own development. With an increase in expertise comes an increase in the “intensity” that our contact has with clients. Perhaps five years ago, when you first began contacting specific acupoints, not much happened. However, you kept working at it, and you kept developing your skill and your ability to work with Qi. Now when you contact those same points, the Qi responds more quickly.  Since it takes less effort and fewer point contacts to activate the Qi, we need to be mindful of “reducing the dose” in order to provide a balancing experience rather than an overwhelming experience.
Reducing the dose to the correct level may feel like holding back, but really we are being mindful of our impact. Dose is an ever evolving dynamic that changes as we change.
I encourage you to notice how your impact has been evolving with your continued study and practice of hands-on healing.  Spend a little time assessing whether you are giving your clients the best dose of your work.  You might find that you can “give a little less” and still get great results, maybe even better results, as you the find the best “dose of you” for each of your clients.

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Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Lillian Gilbertson on January 13, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you for this article. As a massage therapist for 10 years I have been learning about this within my own scope of practice. I have been noticing the same as Janet Klock commented that sometimes the session is “done” before the allotted time is supposed to be up. I too have been using this “extra” time to spend a little bit of time just holding a client’s feet to help their body become grounded again and for the treatment to be fully absorbed. In the early days I certainly had the occasional moment when we pushed the muscle further than it was ready to go and then had to put out the fire. Much better to err on the side of caution.
    It is also time well spent to educate the client and to teach them that less is more.

  2. Bianca Delfosse on January 13, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Soaking this in. Especially where you said, “my real “work” is to stay centered and allow the Qi to guide me”. Thank you very much for sharing your wisdom.

  3. Sally Shattcuk on January 6, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing! After 23 years in this business I often think of that and try to adjust as needed because the client doesn’t always know what they need themselves! I am so glad I connected with you and really enjoy reading your thoughts from the heart. Blessings~~

  4. Laurie on January 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    The right amount of attention or dose as you say is part of being conscious in this life and there lies the challenge for myself and perhaps others. Sometime sharing and caring with others can keep us present.

  5. Mary Ellen Dorey on January 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for this insightful topic and for sharing your wisdom on it. I had not “articulated” this concept but it is very relevant for practitioners. Having the vocabulary to express it, as well as mindfulness of it, increases our knowledge and intimately makes us better at our work.

  6. Candice on November 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Wow, this is extremely helpful. Sometimes I notice myself wanting to give my “best” work. The word “my,” however, is key. The session can start becoming about “me” and all the tools and talents “I” can bring forward. I start to show off. The healthy “dose” looks more like me meeting whoever is before me where they are at and appreciating them as they are. Then we can play from there. My job is to remember to tune in and be present. When I let go of trying so hard, I trust that the proper doseage will come naturally.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac. on November 8, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Thank you for adding in your experience, I appreciate what you have added so we can all benefit. It has always been a little puzzling to me that the easier a session feels to me, the better it always is for my clients. I have found that my real “work” is to stay centered and allow the Qi to guide me. Thanks for that reminder!

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