Happy New Year! At the turn of every new year there is a burst of motivation and intention to make this year a better year. To make YOU a better YOU and to release old bad habits while creating space for healthier ones.
My personal theme for 2018 is “Taking Charge ‘18”. What does this mean to me? A brief reflection of 2017 shows a year where I was dealing with the deteriorating health of my father-in-law and navigating my first personal experience with death. While personal growth and new experiences were in abundance, things I wanted to accomplish just didn’t get done. For 2018, I am taking back charge of my life, setting personal and professional goals, holding myself accountable for the changes I want to make and overall getting healthier. More specifically, making meal plans so that we eat better, joining a gym, and being proactive.
What are your themes for this year? Some common themes are to have fun, be creative, cook more, lose some weight, eat better, start working out, or to be kinder.
If your intention is to improve your overall health this year, how can acupuncture help you achieve this goal? Below is a list of 5 resolutions and a quick explanation on how I can help you.
Resolution 1: Reach Desired Weight and Maintain Goal
Losing weight is the #1 most common New Year’s Resolution. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, soothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, the acupuncture points are primarily chosen along the Spleen, Stomach and Large Intestine meridians to rebalance the Qi flow and treat the root cause. Recommendations of healthier eating habits, herbal formulas and lifestyle choices are given to assist with the weight loss and to improve functioning of the digestive tract. Encouragement to develop an exercise program is discussed and accountability is created.
From a Western perspective, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been shown to have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety. For those who need scientific findings, read this article.
The beauty of acupuncture is that each treatment is catered to the needs of the individual patient with virtually no side effects. Acupuncture points are chosen on the body based on the personal representation and overall well-being of the individual with the objective of increasing circulation (stimulating the metabolism) and calming the nervous system.
Acupuncture is a powerful tool for healthy weight loss, by itself or as a supportive treatment in conjunction with other weight management programs.
Resolution 2: Brain Health
Brain fog is a common complaint and many patients are worried about the health of one’s brain as the years tick by. It has been proven that one can maintain brain health by learning a new language, playing a musical instrument or doing word/number puzzles. Keeping your brain active and stimulated is the best way to stay sharp. However you choose to exercise your brain, acupuncture can help. Numerous studies suggest that acupuncture can help improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function. Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of students during an exam, post-menopausal “brain fog”, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. All results, thus far, have been positive.
Resolution 3: Reduce or Eliminate (if possible) Stress
Stress reduction is always at the top of New Year’s resolutions and for a good reason. All one has to do these days is turn around to find more stress and the toll it takes on our health and bodies is tremendous. Stress is often the cause of illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes just to name a few. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure.
I always smile when I hear the comment “I never knew how relaxing acupuncture is, I wish I had come here sooner.” Let’s face it, our lives are demanding and stress is inevitable. It’s important to take some time out for self-care and nourishment. Acupuncture helps to calm down the sympathetic nervous system, our “fight or flight” response, and support the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system.
Resolution 4: Be a Better Person
Interesting enough, 17% of Americans had this resolution at the top of their list. While there are literally hundreds of ways one can go about becoming a better person, what does it all boil down to? In my opinion, having awareness and knowing self. This journey requires reflection, introspection, release, and a strong declaration to be optimistic and grateful.
While many seek out acupuncture to help with physical ailments, what many don’t know is how effective acupuncture can be in supporting the mental, emotional and spiritual (deep rooted core beliefs-not religion) parts of one’s health. Past traumas or negative experiences can condition us to respond a certain way or get “stuck” emotionally. Chronic stagnation mentally or emotionally can lead to physical problems and grumpier attitudes. The holistic approach that acupuncture offers can address preconditioned reactions and improve overall health so that one feels open and motivated to be their BEST!
Resolution 5: A Tie Between Smoking Cessation and Spend Less/Save More
Acupuncture has turned a growing number of chain smokers into permanent ex-smokers. In fact, researchers say that acupuncture is a promising treatment for all types of addiction from gambling to heroin. Treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification. There is one caveat though, for acupuncture to help in smoking cessation, one must truly want to quit smoking. If treatment is sought out to appease a significant other or if one feels they need to but truly don’t want to quit, then acupuncture is generally mildly effective. When one has a purpose or a deep desire to quit, acupuncture is an effective therapy to aid in this journey.
Spending too much money is often a result of an emotional imbalance. In some situations, an emotional need is not getting met and filling that void with material things makes one feel better. Spending more can also occur when life gets overwhelming. There’s no idea what to cook for dinner so eating out is the best option. This creates an environment of spending more and often eating unhealthier options. As earlier mentioned, acupuncture addresses emotional imbalances and helps to calm and relax the mindso that clarity is achieved.
If you find yourself wanting a little extra support sticking to your resolutions, give me a call and know that I can help or schedule NOW for your appointment.
January 8, 2018 Author: Lindsay Matthews, MAcOM, L.Ac, Owner and practitioner at River City Wellness