Recently, someone asked me what I go to an acupuncturist for.
Initially, my response was "everything and anything!". While this is true, I thought I would summarize my personal top 3 reasons for seeking needles. A lot of people in the west do not understand acupuncture very well and especially do not understand the diversity of issues acupuncture can help with. So I'm hoping to help change this because this medicine is a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
My number one time to get acupuncture is when I don't 'need' it. Acupuncturists often call these treatments a 'tune-up' and it is more about maintaining health and preventing disease then treating an acute issue.
Prevention of disease is worth its weight in gold as far as I'm concerned. Luckily, Chinese medicine and acupuncture are fantastic tools for this. Part of my practice has always been trying to help people navigate what prevention looks like for their situation. Each person is different and the most beautiful part of acupuncture and traditional medicine is that we recognize and honour this individuality.
My second favourite time to get acupuncture is if I am experiencing any kind of pain. I have never experienced a treatment that was as effective for me as acupuncture and its related therapies (cupping, moxibustion, tui na). Like most people I have old injuries from various life events or repetitive strain related to former jobs. These old patterns can have a habit of 'resurfacing' in some way over the years or if you suffer a re-injury. As soon as I notice something feels 'off' I reach for my tool kit and self-treat or I book in with a colleague.
And my third favourite time to get acupuncture is when I am feeling stressed out or run down. I have 2 kids under the age of three and I often have lots of things going on. To off set this busy-ness I really prioritize my down time at home with my kids, but sometimes this is not how things go. And sometimes hanging out with family is not particularly relaxing! So, when I'm feeling overwhelmed or spread too thin I find getting some acupuncture helps to 'reset' my nervous system, helps me feel rejuvenated, and helps clarify my thoughts and actions.
Additionally, I always combine modalities and regularly use herbal formulas or single herbs as prevention or treatment. Generally I find I am reaching for relaxing nervines and/or tonic herbs and formulas. When I have muscle pain or soreness I am also upping my dose of magnesium by using a supplement and increasing nuts and seeds in my diet. Daily home practices for relaxation and movement, such as yoga, stretching, walks in the wilderness, or maybe just a cup of tea and a really good book are also important parts of my routines.
We are about to enter one of the most stressful and busy times of year for most people, so if you are feeling tired or run down right now is the time to come in for a few of your own tune ups!