Modern life is stressful and full of challenges. We are all trying to balance jobs and education, family and friends, not to mention finding time for exercise and having a little fun. As we move through life, it becomes more and more apparent that we must all take care of ourselves so that we can keep things in balance and moving together. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a great addition to your self-care routine so that you can keep moving forward and being your best.
Self-care is choosing to actively bring things into and perform activities that help to balance your life so that you are getting what you need. One of the fundamental principles behind acupuncture and Chinese medicine in general is keeping things in balance and living in moderation. This means that while we can work hard, we also need to provide our body with good food and drink to provide nutrition and energy, and we also need to rest and have periods of inactivity to allow our body to continue to grow and repair itself.
What acupuncture does to contribute to self care
Acupuncture can help to regulate our emotions, so that we can step away from stressful or anxiety inducing situations, and not have to linger with those emotions. It can also help to regulate our metabolism and digestion so we can get the most out of our food and drink. Acupuncture can also help with sleep, making sure that our restful hours are peaceful so that we wake up ready to go in the morning. Chinese medicine also has wonderful resources to help keep our immune systems strong so that colds and flus can’t get a foot hold, as well as great pain management techniques so that injuries or soreness don’t hold us back.
For those people who lead active lifestyles, pain and soreness from regular exercise can be a daily issue. Again, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help to keep your body in good shape and recover faster. Acupuncture systemically increases circulation and decreases inflammation, meaning that your body is able to increase blood flow, and thereby your immune system cells, throughout your body, so that the micro-injuries we sustain during exercise can be repaired.
Other manual therapy techniques like Cupping, Tui Na Massage and Gua Sha can all help with the tight and sore muscles that can come with physical training, as well as the stiffness that can come with desk and computer work. Spending a little time on the treatment table to regularly keep that stiff neck and shoulders loose and comfortable is much better than having it progress to headaches, migraines or more serious issues like carpel tunnel or thoracic outlet syndromes.
Benefits of routine acupuncture
Generally, once someone has undergone a course of acupuncture, they feel better than when they first started, and may have made some lifestyle changes along the way that have been recommended to them. Continuing to get acupuncture on a regular basis afterward is a great way to keep things on track, make sure our emotions aren’t getting the best of us, our digestion and immune systems stay strong and our sleep is restful. Depending on the situation, acupuncture even once a month can be a great addition to your self-care to keep things on track.
Why would that low amount be helpful? Well, the main reason is that Chinese medicine always posits that prevention is better than a cure or treatment. This means that once we are on track,
keeping our diet and lifestyle and emotions in check and balanced will help to prevent new issues or illnesses from arriving. Coming in to see your acupuncturist, letting them know how you are doing and where you are with things, allows them to not only what is going on now, but what potential issues may come up in the future if an activity, emotional situation or lifestyle choice continues. They can then make recommendations and adjust treatment so that the issue never arises or gets worse. Obviously this requires some buy in and work from both patient and practitioner, but by working together we can achieve greater health and wellness.
In older times, acupuncturists and Chinese medicine doctors were sometimes likened to gardeners, tending the soil of the body, making sure the nutrients were available, checking wild growth, and eliminating pests and pathogens. Even now, this is an apt metaphor and can still serve today as we strive to take care of our bodies and minds in the modern era.