What does it take to heal & how much ownership are you taking in your health?
Twelve years ago, out of nowhere back pain struck me. I was introduced to acupuncture after 6 months of active searching for help via western medicine, physical therapy, and chiropractic medicine. At the time, I was a single woman making a modest living and certainly couldn’t “afford acupuncture.” The thing is I couldn’t afford not to try acupuncture. I was in my mid twenties and knew I shouldn’t be in pain like I was. Per my Acupuncture Physicians orders I had treatment and massage once a week for about 10 weeks. I also started going to yoga to stretch out my back pain and deal with the underlying stressors that were contributing to my back pain. I became an active participant in my health and was determined to get to the root of the problem.
Fast forward to today, and now I am the practitioner working with people that have pain, numbness, and other symptoms. These symptoms are the body’s messengers to you. If you listen, make lifestyle changes, seek out practitioners that can be your health partner, the messages (AKA symptoms) may go away completely. If you don’t listen, the messages will get louder and more extreme.
I entered a field that I truly believe in and have experienced first hand how magnificent it can be. It took time and active participation but my back is great! Occasionally, when I let stressors get the best of me, I will find my back is signaling me. I listen to the message and I adjust my lifestyle. For me that means yoga therapy, more meditation, guided relaxation, and backing off the intensity at which I pursue my daily activities. I do yoga stretches (such as legs resting up the wall, child’s pose, and pigeon hip opener) at home to ease the muscles that I habitually contract during times of stress. My back has become my true health champion- it tells me when I need to slow down and take life in because normally I am steam rolling through my to do list trying to be the best mom, wife, yogi, and acupuncturist I can be. Steam rolling is not the way to live and I have my back to keep me in check.
If you are new to acupuncture, skeptical of acupuncture, or are a curious patient I want to invite you to play investigator and active participant in your health and healing process. Here are a few questions that I find helpful in the investigation process:
- What are my expectations from ___ (acupuncture, my Dr., massage, etc)?
- Are they reasonable?
- How long have I had __ (insert symptom(s)?
- How long should it take to get to the root of the problem and heal? Is this a reasonable time frame?
- Is the root from habitual patterning?
- What kind of things can I do to start the healing process?
- Am I resistant to doing the things that are positive for healing? Why?
- What am I afraid of losing if I cut out __ from my life?
- What would life be without __?
- What would life be like if I added in __(insert positive activities for healing transformation)?
- How can I challenge my thought patterns and preconceived notions with a level of child like curiosity and wonder?
- What do I have to lose from exploring something new? What do I have to lose if I don’t change anything?
Here is an example that may help tie all of this together. A patient comes in for back pain, gets acupuncture treatment then goes home and does hard labor for hours. The patient felt relief from acupuncture but it didn’t last for long. We have to take a look at our lifestyle and make adjustments to support the healing process. My hope from sharing this blog with you is that I may empower you to become your own champion in healing.