Should acupuncture be included in your regular health regimen?
Think of it this way. Your body does a great job of regulating itself when conditions are right. You know this because when you’re off work, on vacation, or doing something you love… your body generally cooperates. You’re not stressed, you get adequate sleep, eat well, and engage in activities that bring good, vibrant, feelings of aliveness into your body.
But this is not our normal, everyday life.
Most of us are living in highly stressful situations with incredible demands on our time, attention, finances, etc. It’s a miracle that more of us don’t just fall over and croak in the middle of it. Really, isn’t it?
Acupuncture has the amazing ability to deeply relax the nervous system. This is acupuncture’s superpower. And it should not be underestimated. The ability to clear stress from the system is enormously beneficial to your body, mind, and spirit.
Look at some of the stuff in your life that has been linked to stress:
- The Common Cold & Reduced Immunity
- Weight Gain
- Sleep Dysfunction, i.e. Insomnia
- Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health Problems
- Digestive Trouble
- Heart Disease
- Pain – (all chronic, but notably) Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain
And this is a partial list. Some postulate that stress has a role in most forms of illness. But we don’t need to go there right now.
I think you know that you need to reduce stress in your life.
I know that I do.
You’d be best doing this yourself. If you had a complete set of practices and rituals that could guide you through your daily life for greater ease and clarity in your day to day doings (I’m developing these for your perusal and will post on them soon), you could optimize your own health.
But when you can’t do it yourself, there’s acupuncture.
It has a mysterious ability to unhook the stress response and bring your body into a state of relaxation.
I call it the healing state.
While it’s poorly understood how acupuncture works (from our western scientific mind-frame), I like to look at how it affects the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).
Simply stated, acupuncture activates the parasympathetic side of the ANS, curtailing the output of stress hormones and providing the repair and rejuvenation your body needs to heal and be whole.
Think about that. Your body repairs itself when you are relaxed.
You know from your day to day life that it is difficult to relax. Even when you think you’re not stressed, you might still be wound up with the weight of your world. This has measurable effects on your health.
Take a look at the list above again. We all deal one or more of those in our lives. While there are many factors that go into each one, underlying them all is how well your body is handling stress – how well your body is able to switch the ANS from sympathetic “fight or flight” mode, to parasympathetic “rest, digest, and repair” mode.
When you receive an acupuncture treatment, your body quickly gets unplugged from fight or flight. When you receive regular acupuncture treatments, you are training your body to relax deeply.
When was the last time you were deeply relaxed on a regular basis? When you dropped your worries and let your body and mind open and expand into yourself more fully? Do you remember?
Again, you don’t need acupuncture. You can train yourself to manage your nervous system. This involves regular attention and discipline to practice meditation, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, and/or other qi cultivating and mind-training techniques so that you you can, indeed, heal yourself.
But, while you aspire to do some of those things, you probably don’t do them regularly.
That’s where acupuncture comes in. Acupuncture does it for you. Use acupuncture until you put the structures in place in your daily life so that you don’t need it anymore. Use it as a crutch until you have mastered life’s challenges and emerged from the chaotic dream we all share.
And… you can have a nice nap on the table in the middle of your day, be refreshed, and get back to work.