I like to encourage my patients to have a handful of tools in their toolbox. Self-care is essential and there are abundant ways to be able to help yourself. We are living in challenging and scary times. Watching the news around the clock, wondering what will be with our remaining hostages, and experiencing antisemitism so close to home can create a heavy burden. Add that to the daily rigamarole of work, family, and financial stress and it is enough to be detrimental to one’s psyche. Sometimes we may feel at a loss for how much or how little control we have over what is going on in our midst. This might ring true both at home, in the workplace, as well as in the world around us. With that said, it is essential we do our best to remain optimistic, keep our heads above water, and take strides to improving things.

I often recommend utilizing tools such as exercise, music, and eating healthy nutritious meals to help achieve emotional and physical balance and harmony. These are simple things you can easily do in your self-care regimen. Utilizing your tools is something that must become a habit and part of your daily routine. You must find what works for you and stick with it! You will learn what your interests are, and what works for you by simple trial and error. For example, if you are a morning person, exercising in the morning will be a fantastic way to start your day. If, however, you must force yourself out of bed, hit the snooze button ten times, cannot be spoken to until after your third cup of coffee, describe yourself as a night owl, then exercising in the evening may be a better option. Trying to force something that does not work with your natural circadian rhythm, simply put, will not work. You may press on for a couple of days but will quickly give it up and stop. Poor habits, especially addictions, are quite easy to start, and very difficult to stop. On the flip side, however, healthy habits are difficult to start, and extremely easy to lose. If you stop for even a day or two, you may get lazy and be reluctant to resume the routine.

I encourage people to utilize music as an escape. If you have a commute to work, try listening to music during your ride home instead of catching up on your phone calls. At home, try playing music in the kitchen while cooking. It can dramatically change and alter your mood. Eating a balanced diet will help avoid mood swings. Of course, it is ok to realize you are human and cannot be perfect all the time. Indulge occasionally and enjoy it when you do! I am a big believer in the powers of chocolate.

The difference between utilizing the tools in your own toolbox vs. acupuncture is that in the scenarios mentioned previously, you are the one in control. You are the one who must incorporate the suggestions, and you are the one who must do all the work. You are trying your utmost to try and relax. You are working hard to get a handle on your daily stress, and whatever your day has thrown your way. However, sometimes it may be exhausting and overwhelming. With acupuncture it all falls on me. My goal is getting to know you and thereby formulating an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan. I design a customized acupuncture point prescription geared towards addressing your specific needs. This allows you to experience immediate relaxation and permits you to simply let go. Over time with a series of treatments, you will continue to realize the full incredible reach of acupuncture. It is fantastic in both healing your mind and allowing you to feel free and relaxed. It is amazing at getting to the bottom and root of an illness to completely change your physical well-being.

I have a secondary magical toolbox, which has the “tools of the trade” that I utilize daily in my practice. In conjunction with acupuncture, I also incorporate other modalities such as cupping and electric stimulation. Cupping aka “bankas,” is a favorite when dealing with muscular pain. It can provide tremendous relief in areas that are stagnated and painful even when it has been over a prolonged period of time. It is also immensely helpful for those who have congestion in the lungs such as with asthma and chronic sinus congestion. I utilize electric stimulation dozens of times a day. It is extremely helpful when dealing with sciatica, gastrointestinal issues, weight loss, Bell’s Palsy, and spasms. The electrodes clip on to the needles, allowing a gentle tapping stimulation providing increased stimulation to the acupuncture points. It activates the nerves, tendons, and muscles, and penetrates deeper into the soft tissue. It is an incredible and painless tool for the ultimate in pain relief.

It is fundamental to be able to employ your own tools from your toolbox on a daily basis, allowing you to live as worry free as possible. It is equally essential to know when to reach out for help. My patients often tell me how gratifying it is to share what they are going through. They know I will treat them for it, help them feel better, and they trust that now it is my problem! Simply scheduling an initial consultation may allow you to feel that you are on your way towards optimal healing. Knowing that you are doing something and taking action for your health can in itself be curative. Allow yourself to take that important first step. Utilize your own self-care tools in conjunction with acupuncture. This will allow you to achieve optimal healing for the best possible you. n


Dr. Deborah Rothman is a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, as well as a Diplomate of Acupuncture. She is in private practice and runs a wellness center in Lawrence, offering a complete solution for all your health and wellness needs. Comments and questions are welcome. She can be reached at 516-203-4500 or Deborah@AcuZen.com. Please visit AcuZen.com and follow AcuZenWellness on Facebook and Instagram.



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