Well, Well, Well
What do you consider your preventative health care? Do you eat whole, natural foods, exercise, drink adequate water, get at least seven hours of sleep, practice a relaxation technique, get a scheduled massage, laugh regularly, hug your friends and family? Each one of us hopefully has a way to stay healthy to avoid medical intervention, but maybe we don’t even label it prevention. We might just think of it as our lifestyle.
The other day, when I realized I had forgotten my regular acupuncture appointment, I realized that this technique was one way I keep myself balanced and healthy. Sure, I exercise daily, eat natural foods, attempt to sleep well, meditate, laugh, share hugs, play with the dog, and manage to avoid visits to any doctor. Yes, I get yearly blood work done, I get my eyes and teeth checked regularly, but for overall health, I count on my natural health care providers to keep me well. This includes the chiropractor, naturopath and acupuncturist.
Those of you who haven’t been to an acupuncturist may think it’s only for pain relief or stopping smoking, but this is only a small part of its wide healing scope. Take it from me, acupuncture can be the difference between physical agony and the ability to see and breathe. Years ago I had such a bad sinus infection, brought on by having the floors in my house refinished, I thought I’d die with congestion and pain. I went to my acupuncturist unable to breathe, couldn’t talk, I had a headache, backache and sore neck. I was literally in tears when I arrived at his office, yet walked out able to breathe, with no pain anywhere and my voice returning. The next day I was giving thanks that Butte has an acupuncturist and that the Chinese figured out this medical system for all of us to use.
Acupuncture is a medical discipline designed to prevent, diagnose and treat illness, as well as to improve overall health. Practiced in China for thousands of years, acupuncture uses what our modern science has only recently determined, that the human body is a complex bioelectric system, and that bioelectric energy, known as Qi (chee), circulates throughout the body along well-defined pathways known as meridians. According to traditional Chinese medical theory, acupuncture balances the energy of the body as it flows along these pathways.
Specific points on the skin are energetically connected to specific organs, body structures and systems, and if this energy circulation, or flow, is disrupted, blocked or impaired, optimum function is affected, resulting in pain or illness. When a person receives an acupuncture treatment, these points are stimulated with needles to balance the circulation of energy, which then influences the health of the whole body.
While many patients turn to acupuncture for healing an injury or acute pain, treatment is more than just pain relief. Acupuncture affects the immune system, nerve supply, blood circulation, respiration and lymph and endocrine systems, in order to allow the body to do what it does best, heal itself. When physiological balance is restored, as it is when Qi, or life energy, moves through the body unimpeded, health flourishes.
A typical acupuncture treatment involves diagnosis by the practitioner, who then decides which points to stimulate with needles. Many potential patients balk at the idea of being poked with needles, but it truly sounds worse than it is. A skilled acupuncturist places the needles into the skin with little or no sensation; the needles themselves are very fine, about the size of a thick hair, nothing like a hypodermic needle. Once in the skin, bodily sensations can be stimulating or relaxing, and usually not painful.
Often during a treatment, patients will rest or sleep as the needles “work” to unblock energy meridians. Conditions that respond to acupuncture include: asthma, allergies, sinusitis, intestinal disorders, ulcers, hiatal hernia, PMS, migraines, anxiety, stress and depression. Because acupuncture has no harmful side effects, it can be used along with other medical treatments and prescription drugs. It is often noted that after receiving acupuncture for a while, many medications can be reduced or eliminated (after approval from your doctor).
Acupuncturists offer comprehensive health care. They work with their patients to correct the underlying cause of illness, by strengthening the body’s natural ability to heal and be well. By treating the body, mind and spirit, acupuncture creates a natural flow and balance of energy in all three.
Whether acupuncture is your first choice medically or your last resort, it should not be overlooked as an avenue to wellness.