“Dig the well before you are thirsty.” – Chinese Proverb
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
By Susan Tretakis, Margate, Florida – These are difficult times for people to think about health.
You cannot open a newspaper, watch the news, scroll through Facebook or flip through Instagram and YouTube without seeing/hearing another article on this year’s bumper crop of viruses, the pros and cons of vaccines, newly emerging heart and orthopedic diseases as well as the usual, mind-spinning conflicting and contradictory dietary warnings.
Retail stores are closing, people are losing jobs, and family stress levels soar.
Schools get cited for mold; children come home sick and sneezy and share their ailments with whomever is willing to play catch with their germs.
By now, we are very aware the role “life style” changes play in one’s life. We have seen the science on the dangers of sugar, alcohol, fatty foods and we make daily choices accordingly. We are not perfect but in reality, humans, by our very nature, are not expected to be.
I think it is time for all of us to take a step back and just think for a minute.
Very few of us would ever think of skipping our daily dental routine of brushing and flossing. Since we were children, we learned how to brush and practiced this “skill” every morning and every evening. As we matured, we learned – some with more painfully than others – that regular brushing and flossing did not necessarily prevent cavities. Regular brushing, did however, lessen issues. And, because of this, we never gave up the concept of regular brushing.
Think about it: do you know anyone who does not have a toothbrush in their homes? What’s among the first things you pack in an overnight bag – or for an extended visit?
Let’s take this concept of a healthy, consistent habit and apply it to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.
We know from the literature that Traditional Chinese Medicine is thousands of years old and has changed little over the centuries. Viewing the human body as a closed system which changes daily, TCM identifies a vital source of life, known as Qi, which surges through the body. An imbalance in your Qi can cause illness and disease. TCM practitioners believe that this imbalance is most commonly thought to be caused by an altercation in the opposite and complementary forces that make up Qi, known as Yin and Yang.
TCM views humans as microcosms of the larger surrounding universe and are interconnected with nature and subject to its forces. Balance between health and disease is a key concept. TCM also believes in the individual uniqueness of ones’ system. This is the reason why some people never seem to catch the cold that is circulating around the office. This is also why another person can suffer from digestive issues from a meal shared with three friends, with no one else experiencing any negative effect.
It’s about our internal systems – specifically our immune systems – and why we need to maintain a balance between the internal organs and the external elements of the world around us.
You currently practice many “Qi balancing” activities and may not know they are born in TCM. This is why we shower, wash our hands, brush our teeth, choose the right foods, steam our sinuses, go to the gym and diffuse our oils. We buy houseplants to cleanse our air and install water filters while meditating.
You are attempting to bring some form of balance – through lifestyle choices – to your bodies – and in some cases – into your homes.
NEWSFLASH: You should be thinking of adding regular acupuncture treatments to your lives. Quite honestly, you need to make acupuncture as much as a part of your life as brushing your teeth.
Most of us know the basic habits of healthy living. We know not to smoke, we know that being overweight is a strain on our hearts and joints and we know we need to exercise. Lately, more and more of us are learning to drink in moderation, or not at all. We know we should eat less processed foods and more fruits and vegetables. We know we should be wary of excess sugar, salt, and saturated fats. We know we need to avoid stress.
Trust me, I have looked at each of these rules many times, and my auto response is usually the same: “How difficult can that be?” Let me assure you, it’s not that easy. What I “know to do” as well as “when to do it” can be knocked off its emotional pedestal by a single news report, a telephone call or a piece of unexpected, unappreciated mail. If these conventional healthy habits are what I need to do to enhance my physical, mental and emotional well-being, then my not-so-secret weapon alternative is acupuncture.
Because, quite honestly, as a member of the human race, I need the constant re-setting.
As someone involved in caring for the emotional wellbeing of others, I have often felt the drain in my own emotional reservoirs. As someone who spent a year living in France and living off wine and smelly cheeses, that attraction of a glass of Beaujolais and brie is very real. As someone whose grandfather was a kosher butcher, my desire for rare steak still lurks in my appetite. As someone who believe the serving size for a single serving of cookies listed on the side of the Girl Scout box should read “one sleeve” and who believes candy corn is a food group, my battle with sugar will probably last my lifetime.
For me, acupuncture keeps these “devils” at bay; or rather, strengthens my resolve to make wiser choices.
Sometimes, in the “luckily-hidden-from-the-public” part of my brain, I envision acupuncture as my version of my “Super Girl Cape” because – let’s face it – today, you just never know when the mental or physical “kick” will strike.
Given the choice, I will always choose prevention over any cure; acupuncture gives me that added preventative and resilient benefit. I must rather “dig the well, before I am thirsty.”
Acupuncture is a holistic healthy habit. Not only has the research shown that acupuncture is beneficial for creating a healthier body, but various hospital studies document case after case of where and how acupuncture has calmed the mind and improved emotional wellbeing. There is no doubt that acupuncture can help the body heal from injury, ease chronic pain naturally thereby reducing the very real and terrifying addiction to opioids and other narcotics.
It goes without saying that to reap the maximum health and wellness benefits of acupuncture you need to adhere to your doctor’s treatment plan. Most practitioners will share with their patients an acupuncture treatment plan that includes a recommendation for the number and frequency of visits required to reduce or eliminate symptoms and achieve optimal results. However, even when symptoms go away, the craziness of our lives continues on; our body’s system are still vulnerable. Regular acupuncture sessions help one maintain overall health.
The benefits of continued acupuncture last a lifetime. While I could easily have acupuncture every day – which would thereby cause my acupuncturist to move to a foreign country leaving no forwarding address – most of the literature agrees that one to two acupuncture treatments a month can have a huge impact on sleep, mood, energy levels, circulation, digestion and immunity.
A mind out of balance – stressed, sad, and angry – will harm your body with aches, pains and other, severe illnesses. Acupuncture is a “two-fer”; it balances your system, mental and physical.
This is why I don’t understand people who stop acupuncture after their initial series of treatment. Simply because the symptoms of their concern – back ache, anxiety, TMJ – have been resolved – one still needs to be balanced on a regular basis. Age-old Chinese wisdom views the physical body as a collection of energetic fields, which if it is in a state of good health, allows for optimum flow of Qi. If the body is in a disease-ridden state, it creates energetic blockages.
We live in a time when the balance of our bodies and minds are disrupted almost on a daily basis. We need to develop a Qi resiliency so strong that it can counteract the physical and emotional “germs” that seem to follow us like the dusty cloud that hovered over the head of the Charles Schultz’s character of Pig Pen.
So, think about it. Think about those appointments you “must” have: salon visits, luncheon appointments, dinner appointments. Think about the possibility of perhaps eliminating unexpected doctor and dental visits.
Think about how you would never go a day without brushing your teeth.
Think about acupuncture.
Make some changes to those personal schedules you believe to be set in stone – because “being responsive to change” – intellectually and physically – will enhance your life.
Think about acupuncture.
Your immune system – along with you mind and body – will thank you.
The Acupuncturists, Dr. Landon Agoado and Dr. Robert Herbst, serve the communities of Margate, Coral Springs and Coconut Creek, accept insurance and offer free consultations daily.
- Dr. Landon Agoado, Care Wellness Center
- Dr. Robert Herbst, Care Wellness Center