I caught the following conversation between two pretty women in the ladies’ room of a Manhattan restaurant. One of the women was pregnant. And she said, “So my acupuncturist made me take the ring out of my belly button.”
“Really?” her friend exclaimed.
“Yeah, he said, ‘Let’s give this baby a chance.'”
Enthralled by this ripe exchange, I called Manhattan acupuncturist Robert Abramson and asked him about it. “Oh,” he softly chuckled, “Maybe her acupuncturist was me!”
Turns out belly button piercing is an especially bad idea from an acupuncturist’s perspective.
Abramson explains: “The belly button rests upon a central meridian known as the ‘conception vessel,’ and this meridian is of paramount importance for conception in all of its aspects– obviously in the conceiving of a child, but also in the conceiving of new ideas.”
Any ornamental piercing on the body (a well as the metal object that rests in it) will interfere with the smooth flow of the body’s chi (or vital life force), so when considering a new hole (even in your ear or nose), you must weigh the costs and benefits. Abramson says he’s heard that pirates of yore pierced their ears to offset the symptoms of sea sickness. Changes that look purely ornamental, can have accompanying–if subtle–physical effects.
The social pressure to conform to fashion and pierce the ears or nose today is so great, however, that Abramson has no enormous reaction when he meets a new client who has pierced these areas. But key to the practice of Chinese medicine is the notion that anything you do to a part influences the whole. He asks his clients to consider that in all they do. And even though a piercing or tattoo (which Abramson sees as even more benign) creates a physical change, you’ve engaged in behavior that has mental and spiritual implications. This behooves us to pay close attention to our actions and stay flexible, he says. All permanent decisions should obviously be evaluated through a filter of future time. How’s this going to look when I’m older? And in the case of the belly button: how will this effect me if I ever want to conceive? Even men, Abramson says, aren’t the best candidates for belly button piercing if they want to impregnate a partner.
“We all want to be peacocks,” Abramson says. But it is generally wisest to leave yourself unaltered in as much as you can.
And belly button rings? Well, they’ve got to go.
I hope the woman I eavesdropped on is enjoying the full flow of her chi now, and has had a great pregnancy!
Here’s some information on illness, acupuncture, and navel-piercing.
And here’s a fascinating-looking book, “The Tao of Piercing,” that explains how to pierce consciously.