“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” ~Saint Francis de Sales
Being present with each of my patients is essential in order to honor who they are and what they are presenting on any given day. My mission is to personalize each session according to everyone’s unique needs. I also make a point to never take anyone for granted, especially when it comes to my thinking about what their expectations or thoughts might be surrounding each treatment.
I wrote a similar post to this one about 2 years ago, and I thought it might be fruitful to re-post and share these thoughts on realistic expectations of a treatment plan. I share this in order to encourage you to make your experience as a current or future Chinese medicine patient as wonderful and enjoyable as possible. Please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences!
- Be patient. Rome was not built in a day and your body did not develop those aches and pains over night. Deep transformation and healing requires a realistic expectation that may take weeks or months to target. Unfortunately we are in a “quick fix” society, so it is often hard to change this mindset. With the right practitioner, each treatment will provide a space of relaxation and forward movement. With time and patience, your body will readjust, cleanse, heal and feel more and more balanced. The key word is time. Perhaps this is why we are called patients; because we should be practicing patience.
- If one practitioner doesn’t resonate with you, it does not mean the entire medicine doesn’t resonate with you. We all have specific needs in life and this is what makes diversity so beautiful. Keep in mind that Chinese medicine practitioners are not one and all the same. We have many different styles and specialties of practicing. Doing your research and asking the appropriate people in your community for a good referral is a great first step (I am always available to help!). If you are unsatisfied for whatever reason after your treatment, see if you can find someone else. As in any relationship, we have to try things in order to know what is really best for us.
- Speak up! If you are uncomfortable in any way, have any questions or concerns, or have positive feedback, say something! Do you think the treatment room is too cold or too warm? Do you like the music and ambiance? Or, does the needle in your leg feel funny? Whatever might be on your mind, I encourage you to speak up and let your practitioner know. This will only improve the quality of your experiences and help facilitate your body’s relaxation response for deeper healing. It is empowering to speak up for yourself. This time is all for you, make every moment worthwhile.
- You are in charge. What this means is that it’s up to you to take care of yourself in between treatments. The road to health involves medical supervision, but most important, involves a lifestyle change. With a good practitioner, you will be sent home with dietary modifications, exercises, and/or suggestions on mental-emotional support. You are paying for this advice, and it is solely for your benefit. If you have questions, ask. If you need clarification or more recommendations, say so. If something comes up, you can get in touch with your practitioner in between visits. However, your practitioner is not going to be there by your side each day to see what you are doing, so you need to make a commitment to do your work and show up for yourself each day. Some things come easier than others, and the most important thing in this process is to stay completely open and honest with yourself and your practitioner in order to continue receiving the support you need. You have a safe, judgement-free, healing space provided to serve and work with YOU. Make the best of it, and over time you might just see some incredible transformations.
Want to learn more about what I do? Check out my practice website: The Balance Point Acupuncture & Wellness
I sent the post below via e-mail several weeks ago, and I felt it necessary to repost here for several reasons. One being, the very next day after writing it, I noticed the temperatures dropped significantly here in North Carolina. After leaving my house, I somehow convinced myself that I would be OK with the 3/4 length sleeved shirt I was wearing (and no scarf!!) since I was going to be either inside a building or car for the majority of the day. Retrospective thought: Oh, how the mind will think of anything to justify what we already know is a less than good idea! The several minutes I was outside, I felt the chilly air on the back of my neck and I just knew it was the point of no return, the onset of something. Sure enough, over the next few days my body started to feel fatigued and lethargic, and I developed the all- too- common Fall season cold. Does this sound familiar? Read on for some self-care tips on staying healthy this season from a Chinese medical perspective.
Now that fall is in the air, temperatures are shifting and the days are getting shorter. Chinese medicine has a lot to say about how we are influenced by natural cycles, and what we can do to prevent our bodies from being out of balance with these cycles. This time of the year is associated with the element/energy of Metal and the organ systems of Lung and Large Intestine. Therefore, now is a good time to focus on strengthening our respiratory and digestive systems. Here are some useful tips on how to do this for optimal health in the upcoming season:
- Regular Acupuncture: Seasonal changes can be a time of turmoil as an individual’s qi (energy) might be out of harmony with the frequency of the season. Fall is the perfect time to take preventative action. Ward off illness and changes in mood with acupuncture treatments this autumn and start the school year, or just the cooler weather in general, with a balanced body, mind and spirit. Consistent acupuncture treatments assist in relieving stress, help you get sounder sleep and re-balance your energy. It can help boost your immune function and settle the mind.
- Sleep: Notice that nature is slowing down, contracting, and preparing to rest so it is natural for us to sleep a little longer than in the summer months. Focus on relaxation in the evening hours. Autumn is associated with late afternoon and evening time, and getting ready for the still, deep energy of the winter.
- Eat warming root vegetables, whole grains and hearty foods like soups, stews, and broths. Incorporating seasonal foods in your diet helps to connect the energetics of the season with the nourishment of your body. These foods will also work well to flush out and protect the intestines. When it comes to flavors, think pungent. Pungent and slightly spicy foods have a powerful up and out direction in the body, and this traditionally helps stimulate the lungs and break up any excess mucus. Try adding onions, ginger, garlic, leeks, radishes and turnips to your meals. Cayenne, ginger and curry also promote good digestion and elimination.
- Protect your lungs by drinking plenty of fluids, doing a daily sinus rinse and wearing a scarf. The back of our neck is a particularly vulnerable place where cold and wind can invade easily and compromise our immune system, so cover up!
- Regular Exercise. Movement is essential year-round. Even with the fall and winter chill you want to maintain your exercise regimen. It will help reduce the seasonal depression that tends to crop up as the days become shorter, allow you to stay at a healthy body weight, improve your health, and let energy flow unimpeded. Try at least 30 minutes of cardio on most days of the week and be sure to include strength training.
- Always go back to the breath. Add a deep breathing and meditation practice to your daily routine by expanding your chest, opening your lungs, and breathing in deep to honor and nourish your body! In fall, we tend to be more introspective and it’s time to let go of emotions that no longer serve us. Take advantage of this opportunity by meditating to keep calm and focused. Strengthen your lung qi by setting aside time each day for breathing exercises. Take a yoga class or try Qigong to quiet the mind. Mindful breath work has so many benefits like eliminating toxins, releasing tension and pain, bringing a sense of clarity, and improving your quality of sleep.
Wishing you a healthy and peaceful season!
“Healing doesn’t just take a little time, it also takes commitment to get started and to complete the process.”
― Sereda Aleta Dailey
Green tea! You may have heard of it, you may already drink it regularly. Does it actually do that much good for the body? The answer is yes! Having one cup of green tea a day is actually one of the best things anyone can do to improve their health.
Clockwise from top: Maldon Sea Salt, Fleur de Sel de Camargue, Japanese Seaweed Salt, Jacobsen Salt Co. Flake Salt and Himalayan Pink Salt F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
Salt is something that humans have always consumed as part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, claims that it contributes to heart disease and increases blood pressure have left many people afraid to use salt. While it’s true that too much sodium (like too much of anything) can lead to adverse health effects, it’s inaccurate to think of salt as something that’s “bad for us”. The truth is that salt is essential to life, and our bodies need a constant supply of it. Most salt that people use is of very poor quality and is certainly not the best representation of all that salt has to offer. Instead of being wary of using salt, I think we have more to gain by beginning to use quality salt in a way that contributes to our health.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
– Buddha –
B I E L E R B R O T H. Whenever I feel stressed, fatigued, or under the weather, I make myself a batch of healing Bieler Broth. This whole-foods detoxifying broth is gentle and revitalizing. It aids in liver cleansing, supports the adrenals, reduces back and ligament problems, and increases the body’s overall energy.
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh –
As I round the corner to finish my final year in Naturopathic and Chinese Medical School, I’ve been thinking a lot about what natural medicine really is.
What I thought it was, when I started. And what I now know it to be.