By Deborah Rothman, L.Ac.
We are living in turbulent times. This causes an anxious feeling caused by our surroundings, affecting us both at home and abroad. In our generation, stress has reached epic levels. For most people, the chaos in our environment, along with financial burdens and family relationships, wreaks havoc on our inner sanctity. There is a direct correlation. It is impossible to separate the psyche from our overall physical wellness. Our daily stress from the environment as well as our personal daily struggles has a direct impact on our overall well-being and health.
Every person is an individual and thus stress can manifest in a multitude of ways and show itself via various compounded symptoms with regard to pain and a multitude of other issues. Medicine today is broken up into specifics. If someone has digestive issues, their primary-care physician would refer them to a gastroenterologist. If the same person also suffered from chronic headaches, they might then be referred to a neurologist, and so on. We have become so specialized in our medical approach that the individual is broken up into parts and each symptom is targeted for quick relief. This approach often results in an improvement of the symptom for some period, but falls short in determining or addressing the root cause of the particular symptom, which eventually returns. Additionally, all too often the side effects of medicine that is prescribed may cause additional problems. This is where holistic medicine shines.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the individual is seen as a whole, a complete unit affected by the world overall and their surroundings. Stress is always a factor as an underlying cause of illness. The goal is to see the individual as a sum of all their parts and thus all their symptoms. This is imperative even when the symptoms can sometimes appear as having no connection. Having both digestive issues and headaches would be diagnosed in a holistic approach by “connecting the dots” to obtain a precise diagnosis.
Ensuring understanding as to what is happening in the body in terms of both organ and meridian relationships is key in diagnosing the combined effects of the illness. The treatment that encompasses acupuncture and other modalities would involve not only alleviating the symptoms but resolving the root cause of the illness. The initial response would be a decrease in intensity and frequency of symptoms, such as more regulated digestion and resolving the headaches. The natural progression with a series of treatments would be to stop the issues from recurring.
This can be achieved only by recognizing the individual as a whole person who cannot be broken into parts. This is a life lesson for a medicinal approach, but it can serve to help us with our overall views as well. Step back and see the whole picture. Take it all in. Through observation and understanding of your holistic wellness, we can ameliorate illness and help stay calm even in the midst of turbulent times. Now more than ever, we must be rooted, look for stability, and stand true in our foundations.
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What is acupuncture? Will it hurt? How can it help me?
These are the most common questions I receive daily in my practice after an individual has taken the first step towards considering treatment. Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, sterile single-use needles at acupuncture points on meridians along the body. The point selection is derived after discussion with the patient regarding their current symptoms, as well as a thorough review of their complete medical history. The treatment is customized to that individual, as no two people are alike and thus neither should their medicine be.
The needles are thinner than a strand of hair and most points are painless. Some points can feel a slight heaviness, which passes within a few seconds. The needles stay in for approximately 20—30 minutes, during which time the patient experiences wonderful relaxation and often falls into a deep meditative sleep. The immediate response is one of utter relaxation and euphoria in addition to the amelioration of symptoms.
Acupuncture builds on itself and thus the effects are cumulative and are experienced best after a series of treatments. What is unique is that we are using your body’s own energy to heal itself. Thus acupuncture and a holistic approach can help with a multitude of issues, ranging from headaches, stress relief, depression, back pain, joint pain, digestive issues, and skin conditions to chronic debilitation illnesses such as MS and can even help with the side effects of chemotherapy.
Acupuncture has been around for more than 3,500 years and has become more accepted within the United States in the past 15 years. Many hospitals are now including an acupuncture unit within the hospital system, especially within oncology departments to help alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy while providing a natural boost to the immune system.
Acupuncture works in conjunction with other modalities. Thus it is not contraindicated when working with your primary-care physician or while on medications. It is often used as an additional tool to help current approaches be more effective. The key is in achieving the best long-term outcome for you to live life to its fullest–pain-free!
Coming up: Wellness tips and spotlight on unique case studies.Â v
Deborah Rothman is a licensed acupuncturist and a diplomate of acupuncture with a private practice in Woodmere. Comments and questions are welcome. She can be reached at 516-203-4500 or deborah@AcuZen.com. Please visit www.AcuZen.com and follow Acuâ€‘Zen on Facebook.