The first time I got acupuncture it was a last-ditch resort to get rid of a 3-day migraine I had. I’ve suffered from migraines my whole adult life. Generally, they are brought on by dehydration, heightened levels of stress, exhaustion or PMS; although I don’t remember what that specific one was brought on by, I do remember it was one of the most debilitating migraines I’ve ever experienced. That first acupuncture treatment had me hooked for life after walking out of that clinic feeling like I could function again. Since then I have turned to acupuncture to treat many different ailments and as a self-care ritual for myself, as it’s a great treatment to help minimize anxiety and induce mindfulness.
If you don’t exactly know what acupuncture is, acupuncture is a form of treatment that involves inserting very thin needles through a person’s skin at specific points on the body, to various depths. Research suggests according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; that it can help relieve pain, and it is used for a wide range of other complaints.
Acupuncture works to regulate the bodies Qi (pronounced like chee), Qi is the vital life force that actively flows through all organic life forms. When ones Qi is out of balance or deficient there is the possibility of experiencing a myriad of side effects, including but not limited to; poor digestion, bloating, anemia, asthma, heart palpitations, hair loss, memory loss, anxiety, muscle aches, weakness, and emotional exhaustion. For me, as a small business owner and stylist behind the chair I find that when I am in a high stress state (hello 2020, am I right?!) my body starts feeling all sorts of out of whack and I experience heightened body pain, anxiety, lowered immune system function and emotional exhaustion. All of this is a result of elevated amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn creates a Qi deficiency. You know, like a lack of our literal vital life force. I mean, no wonder our bodies can’t function properly.
Our bodies are not designed to function for long periods of time in the fight or flight response mode (aka the sympathetic nervous system, aka high stress times), and usually the body’s stress-response system is self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities. But when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. *Insert self-care here*. This is why it’s so important to have the tools you need to cope with the stress in your life to allow your body to return to its parasympathetic state in a reasonable amount of time.
I employ several different modalities in keeping my stress at bay, including; therapy, journaling, healthy diet, B12 injections, regular sleep schedule, screen detoxes and acupuncture. I am a believer in multi-faceted self-care, but when it comes to true results, getting your body out of that sympathetic nervous system state will be the most result-driven way to return your body to a state of balance Qi. Beyond creating a block of time in which you have nothing to do but lay on that table and practice deep breathing, acupuncture uses specific points to create an enhanced effect on the nervous system to promote a better state of relaxation. And following along with my holistically wealthy way of life, acupuncture treats the individual as a whole in understanding that if there is an imbalance in the body, it will affect all other parts. An acupuncturist will look at everything, when treating a patient, like a person’s body type, listening to their pulse, taking an inventory of their energy levels, sleep, and digestion and create an individualized plan to balance Qi + get the body in tip top performance. If you haven’t tried acupuncture before, don’t be scared or nervous. I think the most incorrect preconceived notion on acupuncture is about the needles. Y’all, they are TINY, like so thin. I promise you can barely feel them, except for maybe a dull pressure throughout the service. These needles have been described as not to puncture the skin, but to push the skin away, so you can imagine how gentle the service is.
Y’all know by now, I am all about living a holistically wealthy life, meaning that I believe in nurturing our bodies, minds and souls and acupuncture truly does just that. I have had some seriously transcendent experiences during acupuncture treatments, and I have seen a major shift in my overall wellbeing since utilizing this modality of health care. My anxiety is reduced, along with an increase in my ability to cope with panic episodes, my cycles are more balanced with less PMS symptoms, I have less frequent and less intense headaches, my skin is clearer and I rest better which allows my body to heal and regenerate more efficiently. We all know we have to take care of our bodies + fill up our cups so we can overflow into our business’ and our families, so I want to challenge you to book that appointment! Try a new form of self-care, or maybe one you might have not visited for a while… Or acupuncture! For those of us who work a job that is physically, mentally and emotionally fatiguing, it’s important to find ways to nourish ourself wholly. We’ve all been functioning in such high stress states this year, especially if you’re a small business owner + we owe it to ourselves and our businesses to fill our cups again. So, what will you do to fill your cup today?