Find Peace With Acupuncture
Over the many years I have been practicing Chinese medicine, anxiety is one of the most common reasons people have sought out treatment. Did you realize that acupuncture can help treat your spirit along with your physical symptoms? On a molecular level, acupuncture has been shown to affect neurotransmitter release as well as natural endorphins. This can be linked to its proven effectiveness in treating conditions such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Because Chinese medicine works on the whole body, it leads to experiencing enhanced digestion, balanced hormones, and better sleep, all adding to mental health.
I am often hesitant to launch into a “how acupuncture works” discussion because when I start saying things like yin, yang, shen, and qi; people’s eyes begin to glaze over and it’s like I’m speaking Chinese. I know this makes it difficult to approach this mysterious medicine but let’s give it a try.
Meridians and Channels
Meridians or channels run along the body through all the organs and connect to each other creating one long, continuous path. Think of them like blood vessels for energy (qi). The energy circulates along these channels, but at times it can become blocked. Perhaps you broke your toe, or have a stomach ache, or lost a loved one. This disrupts the flow of the energy and causes blockages which can lead to deficiency further down the line. Acupuncture utilizes specific points along these channels and aims to normalize and restore this flow. If the flow is not restored, pain and disease can become chronic and can lead to further damage to the organs of the body.
Emotions and Physiology
How does this relate to your emotions? Each organ has its own set of functions; physical and spiritual. This is not completely foreign to us; just think of people who have died of a broken heart, or suffered physical shock from an emotional trauma. Panic attacks are often mistaken for heart attacks. Emotion and physiology are intricately intertwined. The ancient Chinese spent a lot of time describing the functions of the organs. For example, the small intestine’s job is to separate information and decide what will be kept and what to pass on. Thinking of digestion, we realize this is not so different from its physiological function.
Just as emotional trauma can cause physical symptoms, the opposite is also true. While we can see extreme sadness lead to asthmatic symptoms, a lung injury can create feelings of melancholy. The lung is the organ that is associated with melancholy and grief, while its partner the large Intestine is in charge of letting things go. Treating these two will help someone let go, release stored grief, and find the ability to move into the present moment. The organs function in how we relate to and process our environment, and how we grow within ourselves to feel joy, purpose, and balance. Living a healthy lifestyle and added support with acupuncture, nutritional, and herbal medicine can keep these organs functioning optimally; in turn, keeping your spirit in a healthy state of being.
Furthermore, the organs are each associated with an element: fire, earth, metal, water, or wood. We can look at these elements to see how each organ is connected with the other. For example, if water is lacking, fire can flare out of control. This can cause anxiety, palpitations, and trouble sleeping. We may use points to calm the fire and also to nourish the water so it can control the flames properly.
Using acupuncture to treat things such as anxiety can be incredibly effective and is safe to use along with other treatments you may be doing (it will not affect your medications.) Treatments begin working immediately and build on themselves over time to affect real change in the way your body processes both your inner and outer world. I often help people who suffer from traumatic experiences and PTSD, extended grief and loss, constant thoughts and worry, times of major change and self-doubt, fear and nervousness, and overwhelming anger and frustration. I encourage you to explore this amazing medicine if you feel stuck or held back from living the life you want to live.
Dr. Kimberly Zurich is a Naturopathic doctor and board-certified acupuncturist. She owns Infuse Health Clinic where she provides personalized healthcare using acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrition. She helps people with emotional and physical pain feel at home in their body again. Want to know more? Contact Dr. Zurich: firstname.lastname@example.org.