Why Acupuncture Should be Part of Your Monthly Self-Care Routine
FORGET THE FACT that most acupuncturists are doctors or practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine and skilled herbalists, acupuncture itself is a wellness protocol that through its simplicity can offer BIG benefits.
If you've never experienced acupuncture, the idea of voluntarily getting poked with needles to relax yourself may seem almost laughable. But committing to routine acupuncture appointments is surprisingly a very enjoyable, easy and low maintenance habit that can help heal pain & injuries, regulate hormones, keep your digestive system on tract and fight chronic stress.
If there is one thing that everyone can agree upon, it's that sleep is the most important aspect of good health. Poor sleep contributes to everything from inability to lose weight, moodiness and rapid aging. Studies show that acupuncture improves sleep quality and increases melatonin production. Patients receiving acupuncture fall asleep faster, are less restless at night and feel less stressed during the day.
Not only does acupuncture help people sleep better at night, but if you're able to relax during treatments there is a high likelihood that you'll drift off into a serene ACU NAP. What is an "Acupuncture Nap" you ask?
ACU NAPS: A gift we bestow upon ourselves when we experience an acupuncture session. It's described as a blissful, sort of lucid dreaming state. Upon wakening from an Acu Nap approximately 20 minutes later, Acu Nappers report feeling more balanced, grounded and fully recharged as if they just returned from a week-long vacation.
TCM acknowledges and addresses the impact our emotions play on our well-being. Each emotion we experience is tied to an acupuncture organ and meridian. For example: frustration, anger and irritability are emotions ruled by the Liver. Ruminating thoughts, mental & physical fatigue, and emotional eating are ruled by the Spleen. By doing regular acupuncture treatments, you'll be able to prevent these dominant emotions and moody habits from becoming out of your control, or from beginning in the first place!
The link between stress and disease has been claimed by Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Now Western physicians are beginning to accept this concept too. Dr. Mark Hyman (medical advisor to Bill & Hillary Clinton, New York Times best selling author and leading scholar) has said, "There is a dramatic and powerful connection between your mind and body. In fact, it really should not be called a connection because it is just one bi-directional system. Ninety-five percent of all illness is caused or worsened by stress". There are many studies about how effective acupuncture is in relieving stress, including one showing how acupuncture lowers the stress hormone cortisol and stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain.
Another aspect of what acupuncturists do is herbal medicine. Herbs are an all-natural, mostly plant based medicine that is effective for treating or managing everything from PMS, hormonal acne, painful or irregular menstruation, menopausal hot flashes, bloating, postpartum depression, insomnia, anxiety and so much more. I've seen women experiencing menstrual cramps categorized at an 8-9/10 on the pain scale become reduced to a 1-2/10 in 2-3 months when simply using a combination of herbs and acupuncture.
3 TIPS FOR TRYING ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture has an accumulative effect on your health. If you're less stressed, sick less often and waking up more rested, you are going to be more productive and become overall happier.
1) Find a qualified acupuncturist with some herbal medicine experience. Please don't go to someone who has only met the bare minimum of hours required to be permitted to put needles in someone. Dry Needling is an example of this. Look for someone with a Diploma of Acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine and who is a licensed member of CMAAC (Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada).
2) Be sure you 'click' with your acupuncturist. You'll get the most out of the experience if you are confident with the person you see and comfortable enough to share your vulnerabilities. There is a very good chance that you and your acupuncturists will have a friend-like vibe and it's very important that they 'get you'.
3) Go for several treatments. For some people it can take several treatments to start to noticing changes in their body, and for the even luckier ones the effects are immediate! But regardless, there is always an internal benefit from receiving 20-30 minutes of solitude, uninterrupted peace and quiet, a blissful Acu Nap, and a scheduled time to look after yourself.