We've walked through Reflexology 101 on the blog, giving you additional tools for health and self-care. But what about acupuncture? With a fairly recent entrance into Western healthcare's vocabulary, acupuncture might have you interested in how it can heal and strengthen your body's systems and restore health. Here's why it might be right for you, right now.
Why is now (spring) a good time to consider it?
Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies the organs, emotions, and seasonal phases (there are considered five seasons in the East) into five elements.
The five elements are:
- Fire: heart and small intestine, joy and happiness, summer
- Earth: spleen and stomach, pensiveness and anxiety, late summer
- Water: kidney and bladder, fear, winter
- Metal: lung and large intestine, grief, autumn
- Wood: liver and gallbladder, anger and frustration, spring
The liver and gallbladder are the organ systems that is most prone to Qi stagnation. It is especially important to move our Liver Qi in the springtime since itʼs a time when itʼs most prone to imbalance. When the liver and gallbladder are in balance we feel happy, healthy, assertive and passionate.
What is acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that involves placing hair-thin needles, of varying lengths, into certain areas of the skin called acupuncture points. There are hundreds of acupuncture points on the body that correspond with the meridian system. The meridians are pathways in which life-force or “Qi” (pronounced “chee”) travel through the body. These meridian pathways help coordinate the work of the organs and keep the body balanced by regulating its functions.
Excess stress or pathogens can cause your bodyʼs meridians to become clogged or even blocked. This affects the corresponding organʼs function and ultimately the unified system of body, mind and spirit. Meridians are incredibly sensitive; they can carry the effects of stimulation in the form of healing energy throughout your entire being. Simply put, if your bodyʼs meridian system functions well, youʼre functioning well. Acupuncture (along with food, Qigong and herbs) keeps the Qui stimulated in the meridian system, restoring and maintaining a healthy and balanced state of being.
Why would someone try it?
Acupuncture treats everything that Western medicine treats: everything from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others), nausea, migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility. It can also treat more complicated conditions such as auto-immune disorders, addiction, and neurological disorders. If you have a condition that isnʼt being resolved by allopathic (a direct treatment of symptoms) or western medicine I recommend trying acupuncture and other branches of TCM.
Rather than treating your symptoms, acupuncture is a holistic Eastern approach to restoring your bodyʼs balance. Acupuncture is also a preventive practice. Our contemporary society often exposes us to large amounts of negative stress, over-stimulation, and pollution that can throw the body out of a healthy rhythm. These imbalances can accumulate and block the Qi. Acupuncture regulates a healthy flow of Qi.
How could you determine if acupuncture is the right treatment for you?
Acupuncture is good for almost everyone because of its ability to harmonizes the body by promoting healthy qi and blood flow, which encourages the body to heal itself. Like most medical procedures it does have a few contraindications: drug or alcohol intoxication, use of a pacemaker, a seizure disorder, a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia or use of blood thinners, and infections skin disorders. If pregnant, needling in the abdominal area or lumbosacral region, as well as a few other points, should be avoided after 20 weeks. A licensed practitioner will be able to point out any contraindications during intake.