Auricular acupuncture, acupuncture that is done in the ear, is a common system for treating almost any health complaints. It's most known for its use in treating drug addiction, but it can be used for so much more! Even the military is starting to use it to help ease PTSD
Auricular acupuncture is considered a microsystem. Much like reflexology
(which is also a micro-system - of the foot), the entire body is reflected in the ear. Take a look at the picture above. If you use your imagination, you can see the human figure. (The picture I chose even has a skeleton superimposed to help with those of us with a little weaker imagination skills ;) ) The ear lobe represents and treats the head, the middle ridge of the ear treats the spine and the deep part of the ear near the ear canal treats our internal organs.
I've used the ear to treat many conditions, including assisting with weight loss, addiction, quitting smoking, back pain, labor pain reduction, stress reduction, anxiety and depression. I've even used it to help a cat with cancer who had no appetite and hadn't eaten, except when force-fed, for almost 2 weeks. I needled his ears and within 10 minutes he was scarfing down a bowl of canned cat food!
In addition to needles, we have what are called "ear seeds." Ear seeds can be an actual seed (often a mustard seed that has been treated so it won't sprout) or a tiny metallic ball that is placed on the point in the ear and then held in place with a tiny band-aid. The benefit? They're a great way to extend your treatment between appointments! Yep - feeling stressed? Press on your ear seeds to help even your mood. Experiencing back pain? Press those seeds!
For an over all pick-me-up, feel free to massage your ears! It may look a little silly, but you'll be having the last laugh when you're feeling reduced stress and increased energy!
Welcome back to Resolutions Week! If you're just now finding this series, you'll find links to the other posts at the end.
Today we're going to talk about smoking and how it affects our bodies from a Chinese medical standpoint.
In Chinese medicine, any time we're exposed to smoke it has a drying effect. This could be cigarette smoke, marijuana smoke, or even smoke from the wood-burning stove you use to heat your house during the winter. As with many things, a few exposures here and there aren't going to drastically change your health. It's the chronic, long-term exposures that will have an impact.
What does it mean for something to be drying?
Just like a campfire can dry your shoes after you played in the river earlier in the day, smoking will dry up your body fluids. Some people will notice this drying effect as:
- Dry mouth or throat
- Red, dry eyes
- Dry skin, hair or nails
Again, in small doses, the drying won't have a lasting effect. We'll drink more water because we're thirsty, which will replenish our body fluids. Long term, however, while we could theoretically drink enough water to compensate for the loss of body fluids, our body's mechanisms for moving that fluid to different our different parts are damaged. We can drink a ton of water, but we're still going to have the dry skin, hair and nails (and other symptoms) because our body isn't taking in and utilizing fluids properly anymore.
In Chinese medical terms, smoking damages our Yin. When we don't have enough Yin energy to cool, moisten and calm, we end up with uncomfortable symptoms such as those mentioned above.
To reverse this drying effect, acupuncture and herbs can be prescribed, but of course, the best course of action is to limit your exposure.
Tomorrow will be our last piece of this series on Resolutions. We'll be talking about will-power and tips and tricks to keep going with those healthful resolutions!
As mentioned above, here are links to the rest of the articles from Resolutions WeekResolutions Week - IntroResolutions Week - Part I - ExerciseResolutions Week - Part II - Healthy EatingResolutions Week - Part IV - Willpower
I've made my New Year's Resolutions, have you? One of mine is to be a little better .cough. about writing regular blog posts. They might not be daily, but I'm striving for at least one new post a week.
I'm going to start off with a serious of posts on some typical resolutions and the theories, Chinese medical theory, that is, that support them as being healthy choices.
We'll take a look at:
- Eating Healthy
- Quitting Smoking
- Tips and tricks for keeping the motivations going strong
If you've been reading this blog long enough, you'll know how I feel about trying to start new habits at the New Year vs. the beginning of Spring
, but here we go!Resolutions Week - Part I - ExerciseResolutions Week - Part II - Healthy Eating
Many people drink coffee to get their mornings started. Some people continue drinking coffee throughout the day. My question to you, if you're a coffee drinker, is - do you just like coffee? or do you NEED coffee? If you just like coffee and you're not reliant upon it to get through your day, all the more power to ya! Coffee is full of antioxidants
which are anti-cancer nutrients. However, if you're finding that you need that next cup of coffee because your brain is foggy and your body is sluggish, let's have a talk.
Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. It makes you feel alert and able to respond to any challenges that may come your way. This sounds like a great bodily reaction, right? In a short-term sort of way, sure. The trouble begins when we start using caffeine as a replacement for our own natural energy. As we consume more caffeine, our bodies learn that they don't need to create our own energy, that it will be supplied from an outside source (coffee, tea, soda, etc.). So what happens when we're then separated from our precious caffeine source? Our bodies no longer know how to make appropriate levels of energy to get us through our day.
So what can you do to help your body re-learn how to be energetic on its own?
- First off, reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume, or stop drinking it altogether. I know this can be tough, but just take it slow. I usually recommend 0-2 cups of coffee or tea a day. (Yes, I recommend that people discontinue soda consumption altogether because there is NO healthful benefit to soda, unlike coffee and tea which at least contain antioxidants. If you absolutely can not live without a sweet, fizzy drink, consider Juice Squeezes or Izzes. They are carbonated fruit juices that are DELECTABLE!)
- Replace the caffeine that you normally would have consumed with water. Caffeine is very dehydrating, which can make it so your energy is unable to flow properly. If your energy can't get quickly to where it should be going, you'll get that sluggish feeling that we all know so well.
- Consider getting acupuncture to help your body re-learn to produce energy more quickly. You'll be feeling more energetic, so you won't NEED the caffeine so much. Acupuncture can also help mitigate any withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
Coffee is a lovely drink, but like everything, must be used in moderation. It's best to feel great on your own and to be able to have coffee as a treat that you enjoy, rather than a necessary crutch to get through your day.
If you're ready to live without the hindrances of smoking (shortness of breath, incessant coughing, the dependence on a substance to make it through your day), give acupuncture and Chinese medicine a try. It won't do the quitting for you, but it can help ease you through the transition to living and breathing freely.
Your acupuncturist will likely use a special set of points called the 5 Needle Protocol (5NP, for short). The protocol consists of 5 needles placed in each ear on points to treat the Liver, Lung, Kidney, Sympathetic Nervous System, and a special point called Shen Men which translates to "Spirit Gate."
These points have been used with great success in many patients who are addicted to a wide variety of substances. Many state programs to help people get off drugs use these points! 5NP will help calm the nervous system as well as build up the energy of organs that have been damaged by the addiction. So not only do you get relief from your withdrawal symptoms and cravings, you will start feeling better from deep inside and you'll have more energy which will lessen your need for the nicotine. It's like a two-for-one deal!
So when you're ready to start living your life under your own terms, talk to your acupuncturist. Though you do have to make the decision to quit smoking on your own, you're certainly not in it alone!
For more Living and Breathing freely tips, feel free to download this list
of ideas to help you through!