Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Acupuncture and Your Mind
I'm currently reading Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Natural Guide to Weight Loss That Lasts by Nan Lu OMD, MS, LAc. I know we've already touched on acupuncture and weight loss here. But seeing as I teach communications and have always been a lover of words as well as a big fan of Louise Hay's work I thought I'd touch on thoughts and language as part of your journey to a healthy body.
Patients use this phrase all the time, "not yet." Please do me a favor, a big huge favor take "not yet" out of your vocabulary. Especially when it applies to the return of pain, stress or tension. Don't program your body to allow it to come back. Better yet get rid of the word pain as well. Instead think about how good your body feels. Mike Dooleysays "thoughts become things, choose the good ones." And Wayne Dyer argues that "we need to surround ourselves with the conditions we wish to create." So start talking about what you do want! For instance, Jamie Rongo choose to age with smile lines instead of wrinkles as a testament of a life lived in laughter.
Lu makes a great point about losing weight. When we lose something we usually want to get it back, or find it. Instead of thinking about losing weight, give it away. I'm sure you have skinny friends that need a little extra cushion. Start to listen to your body, eat when youfeel hungry, not when you think you are hungry.
One patient has decided to apply these ideas to quitting smoking as well. What are your conditioned responses? What is no longer serving you and your healthy body? Carolynn Myss argues one reason people don't heal is because they identify more with their disease and the attention they receive from being sick.
I know this is tough stuff and it requires us to be active participants in our health and not victims to circumstances that just happen to us.Oriah Mountain Dreamer says in The Dance, "let us remember we each have a choice." When you eat take note of what you are eating and why. Notice how you feel as you eat as well. Speaking for myself, and my own journey of maintaining a healthy weight is that emotions are a big part of weight gain. If you change your diet, start exercising and don't look at how you feel about yourself the yo yo will sling you right back to where you were or turn you into an obsessive calorie counter in constant fear of fat returning. For myself, it wasn't until I realized my relationship to men and my weight that I was able to take off the excess 30 pounds I was carrying around. When I became comfortable with who I am as well as comfortable with receiving love from others the weight melted away without me really changing my diet or exercise habits.
What is so great about community acupuncture is that it allows our patients to have a better relationship with their own bodies and what they need. The space to feel this perhaps starts with us asking our patients when they feel their treatment is complete. Acupuncture bridges the gap between "I think" and "I feel" and allows the oppurtunity for aha moments. From here the possibilities become endless for a higher quality of life and this is why Neighborhood Acupuncture Place is so passionate about helping people to become and stay healthy in body and budget.
How Do I Know What's Working?
This blog could be metaphorical for many aspects of life in the interest of simplicity I'll try to stick with health and healing.
Having good health doesn't mean luck, genetics, or spending hours at the gym. While these components might be part of good health they are not the essence. You might instead think of good health like a recipe. If one ingredient is not added or another is added too much it will change the entire outcome, perhaps causing the recipe to taste too salty or the dough not to rise. If the heat is too high or not high enough and the timing is off the recipe could be overcooked, undercooked or burnt.
Recipe for health AKA Balanced lifestyle might include:
> colorful diet
> movement (exercise is such a dirty work)
> clean living and work space
> positive thoughts (what you think about you bring about)
> enjoyment of life and loved ones
Acupuncture is part of a complete system of healing. Some aspects a practitioner uses to assist you in maintaining optimal health and others are up to you to incorporate into your daily life.
> tui na (massage therapy)
> herbal therapy
> diet therapy (food as first medicine)
> qi gong
> feng shui
Many times when patients come to our office they are worried about taking herbs and doing acupuncture at the same time. Their rational is how will I know what is working? Sometimes patients can go to a larger extreme and not want to mix western and eastern medicine. Instead of this getting in the way of assisting the body in healing it might be the missing link. In Chinese Medicine we are looking at the whole body using a complete system to assist the body in healing itself. Chinese Medicine is also complimentary medicine and can assist with western interventions especially with negative side effects of fertility treatments and chemotherapy.
While its never smart to change every aspect of your life all at once for long term success it is important to look at the big picture. Think of balance like a pendulum. If you are out of balance to one side, moving too quickly will only cause imbalance in the opposite spectrum. Slow and steady brings us to the center. Starting with acupuncture, herbs, and making recommended lifestyle changes slowly so that they become habit might be the key to long term health.
Sarah Zender LAc
Neighborhood Acupuncture Place
230 Florence St
Crystal Lake IL 60014