Acupuncture is well known for its ability to lower stress. There are many people who report a sense of rejuvenation and recharge after receiving an acupuncture treatment.
So Thanksgiving is over, and we have Christmas on the horizon! For many people, even though the holidays are a great way to spend time with family and enjoy each other, there can be a lot of stress for a number of reasons… Maybe you don’t get along well with every single family member… Maybe you don’t particularly enjoy spending lots of money buying presents… Maybe traveling across the country to see relatives just isn’t your thing!
During the holiday season, many of us could benefit from the stress-reduction benefits of acupuncture. But who has the time or money right? The truth is, in my opinion, acupuncture is one of the best ways to stay healthy and mentally balanced during high-stress times.
With acupuncture, we use the meridian system, the body’s energy pathways, to enhance our natural energies to strengthen our bodies, calm our mind and lift our spirits. During a treatment, the bodies own neural pathways and nervous system come alive and those feel-good endorphins get released in a noticeable way.
Regular treatments — every three to five weeks — are very helpful in keeping your body’s natural energies balanced. At times of high stress (like the holidays), extra demands are put on our minds and bodies. Most clients report improved mood and sleep after just one treatment.
So how does this all work you might be wondering?
Every human being an energy field called “chi.” This chi flows through the bodies using specific channels, called meridians. Each meridian relates to major body organs and functions, as well as emotions.
For example, the emotions associated with stress might cause the muscular structure surrounding the heart to constrict and tighten. This constriction is not only happening muscularly, it is also restricting the flow of chi as well. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this would be diagnosed as stagnating chi. Without release, the tension now contained within the chest cavity will continue to strain the heart, which, left untreated, results in panic attacks, anxiety, and panic syndrome, also described in TCM as a condition called ‘Heat in the Heart’.
Studies show that most Americans report unhealthy levels of stress, and holidays can add to anxiety, stress, and depression. As the use of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication continues to increase, a natural, safe and cost-effective antidote to stress might be just what the doctor orders.
Hospitals and larger medical practices are increasingly embracing alternative therapies. Studies are now showing that acupuncture has the ability to reduce symptoms of depression, decrease anxiety, and help relieve stress. TCM has been used in China for over five thousand years and is a holistic, natural alternative to antidepressants or medications that may have side effects.
TCM and Winter
Acupuncture is just one element of the broader system of TCM. In TCM, each season has an associated natural element. Winter is associated with the Water Element. The water element is all about going deep inside, resting, and reflecting. Ironic that instead of doing those things, we seem to get busier and busier and more frantic during the holiday season.
Some other ways to beat stress this winter:
Get more rest – The Nei Ching, the oldest known document of Chinese medicine says we should retire early and rise late (meaning rising of the sun) during the winter.
Choose more “warm” foods – more cooked foods and complex carbs in your meals. Use whole grains, beans, root vegetables and squash and most importantly soups.
Gather around with people who mean the most to you – Winter is time to rejuvenate and deepen relationships. Make sure you surround yourself with those who love you.
Get out in nature – In TCM, we are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds us. Get outside and get a little sunlight, even 5-10 minutes can be grounding for your spirit
Schedule YOU time – Winter is all about hibernation! Schedule time for you just to be you. This means not “doing” anything necessarily, but just having time to be, wherever feels best to you. Practice saying “NO” to things and put you on the calendar this winter.
Make sure you take some time for yourself this holiday season and include a little self-care. Acupuncture is a great way to do that, with proven results, but there are many othe ways to do tha as well.
Need acupuncture? We got you covered there!
Call us for an acupuncture appointment at 319-393-4307