Acupuncture and Guasha, a one two punch for immunity!

As Autumn falls upon us and "cold and flu" season edge up, it is always a great idea to ramp up your immune system. Fortunately acupuncture and guasha are both fun and proactive ways to achieve maximum balance and support for your immune system. 

Acupuncture has many immune boosting points, that when needled, prod your body to work with ease. A reminder of sorts. Especially in this day and age when stress takes its toll on our body's defenses. One study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that acupuncture allowed for significant improvement in immune function in anxious women.  This of course applies to men too!

Guasha, is probably my favorite technique used in acupuncture, and is really quite amazing. The term Guasha  roughly means to "scrapewind" and Sha is the "bruising" or petechiae that becomes visible after the technique has been applied. This is done by using repeated short strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edged tool. Don't worry, this usually heals within 2-3 days. Vietnamese folk medicine refers to catching a cold as catching wind in the body. Guasha, is an ancient healing technique, commonly used to assist in rebalancing your energies and help you to be stronger in fighting off sickness. I use it to address issues associated with colds, flu, fever, bronchitis, and of course muscle spasms. It can be used in both acute and chronic pain and can easily break up adhesions in the soft tissue. The application of Guasha can release unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing. 

Whether you want it to just maintain a healthy body and promote bloodflow or ward off sickness, or to release your exterior musculature when feeling run down or sick, Guasha is an amazing way to feel revitalized and turn you around when feeling low. 

Fearing Fear

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" FDR. 

These words suddenly came to me tonight as I was working through some emotions that were very overwhelming. I had been in contact with a close relative who had brought up so much panic and fear inside of me that I almost quickly descended into a funk of darkness.  It was the moment of feeling these emotions that made me panic even more, but not about the issue, I was starting to panic because I had started to feel anger, fear,... anger, ...and um yea anger oh and also fear. I became acutely aware that I had a choice at that very moment to undo much of the work I had done over the last months, or I could continue on with my work, and not go into the fear. I called on every snippet I had read in one of the many self help books, particularly one quote or a statement from Marianne Williamson, ( who I kinda want to be like) and there are so many, but I remember she said to walk in the direction of love not the direction of fear. This is not verbatim, which explains the lack of quotations.  And then another by Caroline Myss, who explains that we are on the right path if we are not betraying ourselves. Which basically means the same thing. 

And so I stopped my madness and collected myself and started to say it over and over. If I walk in the direction of love, I am going to love myself, and that means to not go into fear, believe in myself and my abilities and keep on keeping on. So FDR's oh so famous quote, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" was a bunch of words that became iconic because they are the perfect conglomeration of vocabulary  words that rang true and resonated in the hearts of every human being. We all know this, fear is learned, which in turn becomes insidious and easy. Learning love is harder because it makes us culpable or accountable for our behavior towards ourselves. Having fear lets you off the hook to not do the work, but Love, does not. Anyway, I am now feeling softer, more tired and less angry and fearful. I know what I have to do. All I have to do is continue to love myself. 

Why do I talk about Fear in an acupuncture blog? Because fear as with most emotions, plays out in our bodies. Our energy becomes constricted if love is not at the forefront of how we move in the world. Not only will we feel it in the form of pain in some way, but we will experience the manifestation of it in the world too, like in a relationship.  The stuff is no bueno I tell you. How can acupuncture help you ask? Well, If you do carry it around, and maybe not even know it, by stimulating certain points and releasing the body of constriction, the emotions can be guided out. A shift can be perceived. An acupuncture treatment such as this needs two aspects to work best. A good practitioner who is willing to guide your emotional life, and also a patient who is willing to be guided. 


Acupuncture, An Induced Meditation

When I think of induction and acupuncture, I commonly think of using acupuncture for inducing labour. But induction, bringing about, or causing, is the nature of acupuncture in general. One great experience acupuncture can influence is meditation. Acupuncture can induce a meditative state. 

I have heard it over and over again. Just sit. For 20 minutes a day. Just sit. Just sit. It seems so simple and overwhelming at the same time. The mind says noooooo get up and doooo something.  Sitting is soooo unproductive.  It seems counterintuitive and can make one confused because being productive does make much more sense. Of course scientific research tells us that meditation can make us more productive, clear, and happier every day of our lives.  

Recently, I was listening to Russel Simmons explain what Meditation is to him and why he practices every day.  I have to admit I loved every second of his relayed experience. He talked about the monkey in the cage, being your mind and when you make a conscious choice to sit and be still, the monkey in the cage, of course will always go bananas. In other words one's mind will feel like it is bouncing off every wall of its encapsulation. And then it gets calmer. And then one will usually say "oh I'm meditating" and then the monkey in the cage will go bananas again. And then your mind will get calmer and calmer as you practice and then suddenly you are good at it, and you are able to achieve a meditative state. I like to use the time of meditation to connect with myself and others around me. One thing I like to practice is Metta which is a loving and Kindness meditation, where I send love and kindness to myself and then to another. It helps to center me and allows me shift my perspective toward myself and others, basically melting any drama I may be carrying around or projecting. There are various ways to go about meditating, you just have to find one that resonates with you. 

But acupuncture, and this is what I have been leading up to, will help you to achieve a meditative state, where you are able to view the rising and falling of thoughts and emotions and hopefully move through them pretty easily. This happens after the needles are all set in you. I leave the room for around 20 minutes and it is at this time, the patient may feel like, oh, wow, now I have to just sit here with needles in my body?  Since one has needles in his/her body it sort of has to  become a  time of letting go of the wanting to get up. One starts to breathe  through feeling fidgety, and a loosening of the mind takes place.  Thoughts will rise and fall, emotions will come and go. The needles have a two fold job. They guide and induce a shift in energy because of their placement in specific points and also force you to sit, well lie down in this case. One has to succumb to relaxation because thats all you can do.  You may find yourself in a state where you have achieved a relaxation that it is usually difficult to experience unless you have sat and meditated for a while or you could just take the much cooler route, and get acupuncture :)