Balancing Your Most Important Asset Using Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine and non-invasive acupuncture are both safe and effective forms of health care that have been used to treat a wide variety of medical problems for several thousand years. These treatments are part of the Eastern medical system referred to as TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine. They have been used to help millions of people become and stay well. They can be used separately but are also used very effectively together. Massage, cupping, gua sha, and moxa are other techniques used in the same Eastern medical system along with acupuncture and herbal medicine to keep you, your most important asset, balanced and healthy.
Einstein showed us that everything is made of and radiates energy. Acupuncture physicians refer to this intelligent energy in the body as “Qi.” The core philosophy of acupuncture is that Qi flows throughout the body evenly to maintain balance and health. Qi circulates through pathways called meridians.
When Qi flows freely, one enjoys good physical, mental and emotional health. An obstruction of Qi, like a dam, affects how the body functions. Stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, physical and emotional trauma, overexertion or seasonal changes may cause a blockage of Qi. When Qi is obstructed for prolonged periods, pain or disease can result. Qi obstruction can also cause mental and emotional imbalances.
Acupuncture works on a balance system. Our bodies, physically and mentally, work better when balanced. Like a teeter totter, if there isn’t even weight on both sides, one side will rise up and the other side will go down. To give you an idea, I will explain what I mean by balance. In the theory of Eastern medicine, balance is everything. Day is for movement and light as the sun’s energy warms the earth and helps plants grow and night is for rest and darkness. With artificial lighting, we stay awake too long and spend more time doing, than resting. There goes our balance. When we put that into the equation with improper diet and other stressors, we start to see where the “teeter totter” will start to lean to one side.
The body can handle some stress – a night out with friends that might include eating too much food or food that is not healthy, or we might have a few drinks and stay out too late. Even though those things are all bad, our bodies can bounce back from that kind of stress on occasion. With proper rest and back to a healthy diet, in a day or so, we usually feel good again. But, combine work stress, problems at home, daily dietary indiscretions, lack of exercise and late nights; and our body will eventually scream for help. This puts us in a state where poor judgment takes over and we can become accident prone.
If you are under a lot stress in your life and don’t balance it with proper rest, good diet and exercise, to bring you back to that center line and balance, your body will start leaning to one side, not literally but figuratively. The imbalance begins.
We have also become a society that “specializes.” Instead of working the farm and doing many different activities daily, we do one thing all day. We have created a society that supports imbalance by doing one sided activities. Like the tennis player or golfer who only uses one side of their body, the computer tech who over uses his hands and arms, the cyclist that overworks their lower body so only certain muscles are being worked which, in turn, causes others to become weak because of lack of use. These are activities that cause our bodies to become unbalanced on the physical level.
Exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining health and preventing disease of all kinds, from cancer, to diabetes, heart disease as well as keeping your emotional state balanced. Studies reveal that exercise causes metabolic changes that help you lose weight and stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels and regulates your hormones. Getting proper exercise also helps you sleep well. Yes, exercise actually helps you sleep better. Exertion assists restfulness. Polar opposites create balance.
As there must be balance in the exercise we do, the same goes for other daily activities. If we do the same thing every day, something else will become unbalanced. We should not eat the same foods at the same time every day. This imbalance can cause food allergies. There is an old saying, variety is the spice of life and, in this case, it creates good health.
Acupuncture works on an energetic level to create balance. This energy flows through the meridians that run through our body and can be accessed and balanced during acupuncture treatments. I will describe the needles like a lightning rod. They gather energy, Qi, in those meridians to the place the needle has been inserted and the energy gathered there can perform whatever that point has a special affinity for. There is a point on the outside corner of the little toenail that will turn a breach baby around, as a study showed in a JAMA report. There are several points for nausea, one being on the inside of the forearm just above the wrist. Seasickness bands are making use of that point for nausea, and this point works well for nausea caused by pregnancy, as well.
So when your body starts telling you something is just not right and your doctor can’t find the reason, it just might be your body talking to you in the only way it knows how, by producing symptoms–the proverbial “knock” on YOUR door. If you ignore the first knock, your body will knock a little harder to find another way to get you to pay attention. This is that energetic imbalance I mentioned. Before most disease becomes organic, or physical in nature, there will likely be an energetic imbalance.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine help restore healthy balance without the need for pharmaceutical drugs that can have unwanted side effects. When the body is balanced, it is easier to get the rest of our lives in order and when a stressful situation occurs, we will be better able to handle that situation.
When buying a car, a preventative maintenance plan is included with the purchase price. This is a proactive plan to keep a car working its best; because, when we get in our car, we expect it to work. Many of us have had a mechanic tell us a regular oil change could have prevented this damage or you wouldn’t have had to spend money on turning the rotors if you changed the brake pads before they were completely worn out.
This proactive theory should also be applied to our bodies. Preventive care saves money. You are your most valuable asset and without proper health, you can’t take proper care of your family. Put yourself first and get to those nagging symptoms before they become a real problem.
Our body is a perfect machine. With proper diet, exercise, physical therapy, combined with acupuncture and herbal medicine, even a herniated disk that many MDs will tell you can’t be treated without surgery, can heal on its own. My theory is we were not born with buttons and zippers so we can open our bodies and take things out at will. Our mouths should be one of our main sources of healing. Of course, Western medicine is the best for traumatic injuries.
Acupuncture is a very cost effective way to manage your health. I recently read an article reporting a typical family will spend upwards of $20,000, out of pocket, each year for health care costs. That is over $1,600 a month and more than some people earn during a whole year. I have also read that surgery to treat carpal tunnel can cost $10,000. Treating carpal tunnel using acupuncture and homeopathic medicine can cost less than $500 with no recovery time from surgery and lost days from work.
Homeopathic medicine is not part of the Eastern theory of medicine, but it is a wonderful healing system that can be used in conjunction with acupuncture to speed healing and produces wonderful results used alone. Homeopathy is used around the world and is the healing system preferred by the British royals and many Hollywood celebrities.
During the initial exam, a full health history will be taken, including tongue and pulse diagnosis. Acupuncturists are trained to recognize imbalances from these diagnostic tools. Although acupuncture and herbal medicine are more commonly know in the United States, the following treatments are making a name for themselves because of their effectiveness.
Cupping, which has recently become common with Hollywood celebrities, uses round glass jars or plastic suction cups that are applied to the skin of the upper back to promote the free flow of Qi which helps break up phlegm in the lungs and treat asthma. Cups can also be applied to bruised areas anywhere on the body to speed healing from traumatic injuries.
Moxibustion, or moxa, treats and prevents disease by applying heat to the body from burning the herb known as Artemisia Vulgaris, commonly known as mugwort, which is a species of chrysanthemum. This process will warm a person that is always cold and is the herb that is used to calm a fetus that is restless. Moxa is also said to prevent sores or boils and used to avoid pernicious malaria and epidemic diseases.
Gua sha, pronounced gwa shaw, is a healing technique that involves scrapping or rubbing the skin to treat pain conditions of the body by moving blood stagnation caused by traumatic injuries, massage and electro stimulation. The number of treatments will vary from person to person and depend on the condition being treated and how chronic the condition. Each subsequent treatment will build on the previous treatment, working towards balance.
Acupuncture is one of the best ways to stay balanced. For a healthy person, one treatment every three months at the change of seasons is usually what is needed to keep the balanced body healthy. That is, if you are doing the right thing by getting proper amounts of sleep, eating a balanced diet, getting exercise and keeping stress to a minimum. Acupuncturists can find an imbalance before they are detectable by many conventional tests and being proactive in your health saves money, time, and possibly lives. In my practice, body work, such as massage, is a diagnostic tool that is informative for me and enjoyable for the patient. I not only recommend a monthly massage as a great balancing treatment, I get one myself. The tongue, as well as the ear, can also reveal many imbalances in our bodies. I have said that our bodies talk, physically with symptoms such as pain and visually using the tongue and ear in Chinese medicine for diagnosing.
The following is a list of a few problems TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, has been effective at treating. Addiction-alcohol, drug, smoking Pain Anxiety Sciatica Arthritis Sinusitis Constipation Sleep disturbances Diarrhea Sports injuries Digestive trouble Tennis elbow Headache Tooth pain IBS Irritable bowel syndrome Wrist pain If you expect more from your life and your health, you have to make a commitment to care. Your health will only change when you do. Be that change.