By Sara Calabro
Happy 2014! The new year is officially underway, so it’s time to get serious about any changes or improvements that you’ve committed to making in 2014. How are you going to be healthier? In what ways will you be different at this time next year?
Acupuncture can help you get to that desired place. It can make you healthier and happier—in ways you probably never imagined.
Through receiving acupuncture, becoming aware of its principles, and incorporating acupuncture-inspired self-care techniques into your life, you can enjoy physical and emotional benefits that may have eluded you in the past.
This is your year! Here are 14 things that acupuncture can help you achieve in 2014.
Acupuncture is well known for its ability to lower stress. It takes the edge off by removing you from the perpetual state of sympathetic dominance in which so many of us find ourselves. By mellowing out the nervous system, acupuncture will help you feel less affected by and better equipped to manage the stressful aspects of life.
Regular acupuncture treatments are fantastic for keeping stress in check. Acupuncture-inspired self-care goes a long way as well. Watch this video for a simple, DIY stress-reduction technique. Check out 10 tips from acupuncturists for lowering stress. And don’t miss this two-part series on acupressure points for stress reduction.
Stronger immune system
Acupuncture strengthens natural resistance to disease. Forget endorphins. Forget improved blood circulation. Forget placebo. This is how acupuncture works, by bolstering your reserve and equipping you to fight off pathogens.
Acupuncture strengthens the immune system so that you can avoid illness rather than dealing with it after it happens.
Learn about four acupuncture points that strengthen immunity. When used as part of a regular acupressure routine, these points can help you avoid the flu this year. And if you’ve already suffered through the flu, these four points will help prevent a recurrence.
Acupuncture looks at how root imbalances affect the whole system. This means that when one thing is out of whack, it can affect you in multiple ways. By thinking of yourself as a complex, interconnected system, it becomes easier to understand why you might be feeling unwell. Acupuncture broadens your awareness of the things that can potentially influence your physical and emotional health.
A more youthful appearance
Acupuncture can make you look younger. Seriously.
Acupuncture strengthens your five most essential organ systems—Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Lung, and Heart—so that you are systemically healthier. This can not only make you feel younger, by improving your energy levels, but it can actually prevent physical signs of aging.
Got your attention? Learn more in this article on how each of the five essential organ systems influences the aging process—and how acupuncture can make you look and feel 25 again!
Smooth and glowing skin
If your battle against aging has mainly to do with your skin, you may have considered cosmetic acupuncture. Cosmetic acupuncture, or facial rejuvenation acupuncture, got a lot of press last year. Celebrities swear by it. Some acupuncturists are basing their entire practices on it. Indeed, natural alternatives to Botox and prescription acne medications are in high demand, and acupuncture is emerging as a leading solution.
Read this interview with a cosmetic acupuncture expert who teaches the technique to acupuncturists throughout the United States and aboard.
When people think about acupuncture and what it can help with, pain is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But acupuncture’s ability to reduce pain goes beyond the physical benefits, such as improved blood flow and the release of pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin.
There is a significant emotional component to pain, especially pain that is chronic. This is why so many cases of pain go unabated by pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications. Treating pain effectively—that is, treating it in a way that addresses the root causes—requires approaching it holistically. Acupuncture excels at this.
Read more about acupuncture for chronic pain in this article.
A flatter stomach
Acupuncture offers a whole new take on why many people suffer from bloating, as well as reflux, constipation, and other digestive disorders. The paired Spleen and Stomach are the main organs associated with digestion. This refers to the digestion of food as well as the digestion of thought. From an acupuncture perspective, over thinking, like over eating, can lead to bloating and digestive discomfort.
Read this article on how acupuncture reduces bloating by keeping the Spleen and Stomach in balance. And don’t miss these 11 self-care tips from acupuncturists for reducing bloating.
Insomnia is stubborn. Tons of people have it—it’s one of the most common complaints seen by acupuncturists—but for many different reasons. Because acupuncture looks at each patient as an individual, regular treatments can be highly effective for people who haven’t found relief in sleep medications or other one-size-fits-all solutions.
This article outlines a sampling of some common imbalances that cause people to struggle with sleep. Do you recognize your personal brand of insomnia?
Although it’s common to find yourself in “acu land”—a somewhat dazed, blissfully relaxed state—during and immediately following acupuncture treatment, the after effect is usually increased energy. Many people report having more energy in the hours, days and even weeks after acupuncture treatment. You may notice that you’re avoiding that post-lunch coma, feeling more motivated to hit the gym, or just sensing a little extra spring in your step.
Let’s face it: We’re impatient. Our go-go-go society and the technology we’ve come to rely on has acclimated us to quick fixes. It perpetuates the “I want it now” mentality that dominates most of our worlds. This creates chronic impatience.
Acupuncture, because it works but rarely overnight, can help us combat this. Acupuncture is an ongoing process that requires an investment of time and a willingness to let go of our desire for instant gratification. It will make you a more patient person.
The multifaceted nature of sexuality means that many systems throughout the body play a role, and seemingly unrelated symptoms or habits can influence whether someone has a fulfilling sex life. Acupuncturists, because they are trained to view their patients holistically, are experts at making these connections and restoring balance so that you’re able to fully experience and enjoy sex.
Want to learn more about this? Thought so. Read this.
Acupuncture, although becoming more widely used, is still not the norm. Most doctors, as well as some family, friends and colleagues, regard mainstream medicine as the only acceptable form of healthcare. Acupuncture requires you to think about health in entirely new ways because it turns mainstream medical tenets on their head. It will remind you that there are multiple ways of seeing the world—and that “popular” doesn’t always equal “right.”
A boost in confidence
The driving idea behind acupuncture is that we’re already in possession of everything we need to be well. Acupuncture does not add or subtract anything. Rather, it prompts the body to do what it already knows how to do. It reminds you that you have the power to heal yourself.
This does not mean that external interventions such as pharmaceuticals or surgery should always be shunned—in many cases, these are life saving measures. But it does mean that becoming healthier, whatever that means to you, is within your control. This can be an empowering, confidence-boosting realization.
Greater compassion for others
When you understand yourself better, which acupuncture helps you do by making you more self aware, you become better at cultivating compassion for others. You’re not the only one who’s a mishmash of interconnected organs and meridians that can at any moment become out of balance, resulting in unexpected reactions. Acupuncture reminds us that we’re allinterconnected—through our environment and the energies that we put out into the world.
So this year, when someone annoys you or hurts you or looks at you the wrong way, try to remember that it’s not about you. They’re on their journey at the same time that you’re on yours—toward health, toward happiness, toward whatever’s next. Acupuncture can help all of us get there.