Just last week, a woman called to thank me for helping her feel like herself again, and for 3 repeated nights of sound sleep. To tell the truth, I have similar conversations about how well someone is feeling after a few acupuncture treatments.
The practice of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has been around for about 3000 years. It is still the primary medicine used by about one-fourth of the world's population. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the body as a whole system, and sees what we today call disease, as an imbalance in that system. When there is balance, there is no illness.
By Kellie Krasovec
Acupuncture worked just as it is supposed to, in the positive response of the woman mentioned above.
In a nutshell, acupuncture helps restore the flow of vital energy in the body to its best state of balance. We often refer to this flow as Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is not some woo-woo idea. It is the life force of all living things. A simple example is an orange. Have you ever forgotten an orange or other piece of fruit in the refrigerator? If you find it molding and shrunken after a month or two, it is still an orange, but it has lost significant amounts of Qi. Human beings are the same. If we fail to care for ourselves, or ignore warning signs that we are depleted - in any variety of areas - we become ill.
Imagine that the vast majority of us are born into this world with a body that contains all it needs to function. That is not an accident. Our body is a miraculous intact system. As long as we fuel our bodies well, with nutritious foods, clean water, and adequate rest, we can live and thrive for our entire lives.
Of course, many of us push our bodies and minds to the limit. We work long hours, exercise intensely and eat or snack on the run, and forgo some of the sleep we need. And we often do this after we are already over-tired!
A human body is not a machine. We are Flesh and Bone and Muscle and Heart and Lungs and Brains and Hormones; we are living beings! We are constantly evolving and changing. When we ignore the messages of discomfort, pain or other imbalance, the body responds with louder and more urgent warnings. Some of these messages are anxiety and/or insomnia, infertility, adrenal fatigue, and stress. When we push through these signals or warnings without working to repair them, more serious conditions may result.
I am a big fan of explaining that although acupuncture will not change the stress in your life, it will change the way your body responds to it.
The most common response I hear from women about why they have not tried acupuncture is “I don't like needles!” To be honest, who “likes” needles?! Acupuncture needles are incredibly thin, and usually painless, and as one part of a complete medical system, the impact these needles have on our body, is remarkable. The metal of the thin sterile needle acts as a conduit for restoring the circulation of the body's energy. Ever shocked yourself or someone you touch? Then you have experienced the build-up of energy. Touching something discharges this build-up.
Acupuncture works similarly, but in a much more focused way. It does this primarily by helping Qi and blood circulate smoothly again.
A Chinese Medicine practitioner, or acupuncturist, diagnoses quite differently than a Western Medicine doctor. We inspect your tongue, listen to your pulse, get a history of diet and medications, and learn about your lifestyle. If you have been given a Western diagnosis, and have current bloodwork, we incorporate that as well. TCM diagnosis involves patterns, and not simply symptoms. It is common to go to a practitioner for one thing, and have many symptoms improve. They are often part of the same imbalance or pattern. Other minor symptoms also go away.
For example, it can return us to deep, restful sleep patterns; helps regulate the hormonal balance, relieving irregular or painful periods, or hot flashes; it can restore the regularity of our elimination system (who doesn't like to talk about poop?!); it can help regulate our emotions, so we are no longer excessively weepy or depressed or anxious.
Lastly, every action in life needs to be balanced by equal rest. This is true of babies, of plants, of animals. Every living thing has a period of expansion, and well as contraction. When we go-go-go, and do-do-do, we must sleep or rest to rejuvenate that energy spent. Acupuncture helps restore the calmness needed by the body to repair itself. When you have balance, you have health. When you have health, you have everything you need to be successful.