Please Don’t Worry About Your Unshaven Legs
Acupuncture is a hands-on profession. I see and touch a lot of bodies throughout the day. It’s kind of cool to see the diversity of all shapes, sizes, colors, and still find acupuncture points in the same place on each variation of human. It’s a great example of infinite diversity, but still, have a common thread that links all of us as human beings.
My practice is primarily made up of women. One thing that I hear a lot during treatment is an apology to me, from women for not having their legs shaved. To be clear, I treat women who shave, who don’t shave, who let it grow out during the winter, who wax, and who just aren’t that hairy to begin with. During treatment, the last thing I notice is if someone has shaved or not. I’m more concerned with poking around to find the correct acupuncture point or investigating whatever pathology they have come in with.
Men never apologize for having their legs unshaven. I know that this isn’t a fair comparison, because in our specific cultural time and place it is encouraged for women to be hairless and have an immaculate presentation. But I think it needs to be stated none the less. Men don’t apologize for their innate bodies and human-ness. But women are continually compelled too.
I don’t get annoyed, mad, or put out when a woman apologizes for not having her legs shaved – I feel slightly sad, because I understand that impulse. As women there is so much pressure to be “on” and to be perfect all day, every day. Personally, I feel extremely uncomfortable if I don’t leave the house with at least mascara on. I can use any justification I want – that it’s my war paint, that I feel better with makeup on. All of that can be true, but if I’m honest with myself, a big part of that is fear of being judged.
As humans, we don’t have much control over the vast forces that influence our lives. As women in particular, there is so much we have to fight through in order to just be taken seriously. Most women I know and work with (including myself) feel immense pressure to be perfect. When we can’t live up to these impossible expectations, we become increasingly controlling over little things like making sure that we are shaved. Even in a place that is supposed to be relaxing and for your healing benefit.
It might not seem like a big deal that someone apologizes for not having their legs shaved, but it is an expression of all of these larger macro factors. We need to continue to create non-judgmental spaces where women can make mistakes, be imperfect, and will not feel like the world is coming to an end. This is the atmosphere I continually strive to create in my office. A place where women can let their hair down, and unapologetically come with their unshaven legs.
Meghan K. McGonagle, LAc, MAOM, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM), is an interdisciplinary healer who combines many modalities to create a unique and powerful healing experience. She is a board-certified, licensed acupuncturist, registered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is a Reiki Master Teacher in the Usui tradition, who has been attuned since 2008 and also a Metatronia Therapy Master Attuner/Healer. Meghan is also a credentialed craniosacral practitioner who specializes in the Parson’s Method. Lastly, she has been a practicing astrologer since 2010.
Meghan graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA) in 2014, the oldest accredited institution for Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in the United States. She studied Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Japanese Style Acupuncture. NESA has since become part of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacology and Health Sciences (MCPHS). She is a past Board Member of the Acupuncture Society of Massachusetts.
Meghan is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary medicine. She combines scientifically based healing methodologies with intuitive energetic principles to create healing in her patients on multiple levels.
Meghan K. McGonagle, LAc
Licensed Acupuncturist and Practitioner of Chinese Herbal Medicine
Usui Reiki Master Teacher
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