What is acupuncture mostly commonly used for here, in Toronto? Acupuncture can be used for our many ailments, our sports injuries or for pure relaxation. Acupuncture is very particular to you and your neighbourhood/environment, for instance here in Toronto a city of people who commute for far to long, work in high stress jobs for far too many hours, running around eating/drinking whatever is in front of us, and trying at all might to get fit. I commonly see a lot of high stress, anxiety, headaches, digestive issues and sports related injuries. In Beijing, known for its high pollution levels, its crazy Gobi Dessert sandstorms, and nutrient depleted foods, I dealt with a lot of stroke, Paralysis, and breathing issues (asthma).
In Nepal, where their water is highly polluted, their quality of living is sub-par and the drastic changes in temperature within a 24-hour period I saw major issues regarding the digestive system, osteoporosis (brittle/ broken bones) and a lot of edema (swelling of the lower half of the body). Our bodies adjust to our environment, our environment rules how our bodies react, and we tend to not listen to our bodies anymore. We wake up with anxiety about the day, we go to sleep without having a bowel movement, and take a pill every couple of hours to be able to function with a head/bodyache and we think this is normal, we see everyone else doing it, so it must be ok? Nope! If we look at stress, and how our body reacts to it we can almost state that stress is the cause of all illnesses. For example, your sitting in traffic, your late for work/meetings you see the minutes and hours clicking by, your hypothalamus (the control center in your brain) decides to send out an order, “Send in the STRESS hormones’!” What does this do to your body? Firstly, your body can’t differentiate stresses, it only knows Fight or Flight. Your heart races, your breath quickens and your muscles prepare for action. But, you’re in the car, will it be Fight or Flight? Neither, this is the problem, your body is trained to do one or the other.
In our past, we would run from a lion with the hopes of escaping or we would flight until we could not fight any more, this is a very barbaric view of stress, but it’s what our bodies know. Back to the present, sitting in a car, doing this everyday, sometimes twice a day our bodies start to refer our stress to other areas, our heart (high blood pressure, heart attack etc.), our lungs (oxygen depletion, anxiety), our stomach (lack of nutrient absorption, gas, bloating, bad breath), and our kidneys (sore muscles, back pain, constipation, diarrhea). Over time, your stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes you to recover from an illness or injury.
So, the ultimate question here is how do we treat/deal with stress? We need to recognize our stress, then we need to be mindful not mind full of it and seek help. Simple meditation, as simple as 5 minutes a day, while sitting in traffic. Eating food that is being offered to us, for instance in the spring the dandelions are in abundance, eat their leafs and drink the roots (Detox the body), and find a profession who knows and can help your body accept stress as it should, react approiatly and move on.
Acupuncture has been around for over 2000 years, its not going anyplace and people tend to use it for a variety of reasons, you may be afraid of needles…But not acupuncture needles. They are powerful, strong, and extremely beneficial to whatever ails you! Your body needs and craves for help, our study of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture is to use your body, and boost it so that your reactions to stressors change. Instead of harnessing the fight or flight response, acupuncture can help you to stop, breath, and process your thoughts, it will bring balance to your emotions, and ground you so that you are strong enough to take on whatever comes your way. Want this to happen now? Find the spot between your eyebrows, in an upward direction use your thumb or index finger to gently press in an upward direction until you reach your hair line, stop then do it again, and again and again. No time frame, just until your muscles start to relax.