By Elizabeth Martin, L.Ac, LMT
We’re juggling a lot right now: working from home, connecting with our family 24/7, managing Zoom calls and Google Hangouts, and for parents, dealing with a “virtual” school year. With uncertainty, there’s one thing that we should feel confident about: how to navigate our wellness. As a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Mentor, I encourage and empower my patients to take responsibility for their wellness.
Health starts with us being advocates of our own body, which comes with education and teamwork between patients and practitioners. There is only so much we can do as practitioners on the treatment table, and now with social distancing, real healing happens when the patient takes the advice and tools given to them to perform at home between their regular acupuncture visits.
MEDICINE FOR A MODERN WORLD
The ancient practice of acupuncture uses fine needles that are placed at specific points on the body that are linked to individual meridians, or pathways in which Qi flows. When an acupuncture needle stimulates a certain point, it sends a signal to the brain to help the body to relax, hurdle any pain related to a condition, and reprogram the body to create a pathway for healing. You can use acupuncture to treat many common health issues, from indigestion and headaches to stress and even depression.
As a wellness entrepreneur and health practitioner, I have pivoted my practice to also focus on education and have been using telehealth to consult and encourage self-care. Here, some tools I give my patients to perform between treatments to maintain their overall wellness.
Quality Vitamins If you already have a vitamin brand you love, make sure it passes the absorption test. Not all vitamins are the same, and the absorption test can help you determine if you have a high-quality vitamin that is properly absorbing into the body. To do this, place your vitamin in a glass of water. If the vitamin breaks down in an hour, it is a high-quality vitamin. If it dissolves within 24 hours, it’s still a good vitamin, indicating that it will break down and absorb into your bloodstream. If it has not dissolved at all, the vitamins will not absorb into your bloodstream.
Breathwork Acupressure is a form of self-care massage that pinpoints certain areas, as it works to maintain a healthy flow of our body’s metabolism. Tenderness in an area of the body can indicate stagnation and imbalance where our metabolism cannot flow properly. By pressing on certain points with our fingers, you can boost and encourage your own body’s healthy metabolism flow
One of the most important acupuncture points is ST36 located on the outside of the knee, parallel to the patella tendon. This point has been used for thousands of years to maintain wellness by ensuring our digestion is metabolizing, and we are properly absorbing nutrients. The best way to find the point is by using four fingers as a measurement below your kneecap, finding the shin, and then measuring one finger breath towards the outside of the shin. The point would be in the tender space below the knee and one finger from the shin.
Use your thumb or index finger to press on the point of tenderness; you can perform clockwise circular motions while taking 5-10 deep breaths. The breath is an important component of creating a smooth flow of metabolism. When you breathe, try to take note to breathe into your belly so that the stomach rises. If you are breathing fast and mostly in your chest, this may induce anxiety. Keep your breath slow and even counting to 5 for inhale/5 for exhale. Our breath is an extension of our subconscious minds; when we come from a place of being grounded, we can more easily navigate stress and maintain our overall wellness.
Herbal Tea My favorite tea is Earl Grey because of its multitude of health benefits. It is a great substitute for coffee because it gives you a pick-me-up without the jitters, while also relieving anxiety and depression. It contains bergamot oil, which has known properties to calm the mind, boost the immune system, and combat inflammation. According to OrganicFacts.com, the organic compounds and nutrients found in black tea and Earl Grey tea help lower inflammation of the throat and stomach and any other aches, pains, or irritation in the body. It also has natural antioxidants that fight oxidative stress in the body to boost the immune system and prevent many infections and diseases.
Remember, your health starts with you. I am on a mission to modernize Eastern Medicine and give people a choice regarding their bodies and health by educating the world in self-care tools and self-regulation tools. We need to focus on our healing practices to pass on to future generations, and it starts by taking care and being mindful of our overall wellness.
For more information on Elizabeth Martin and her practice, Hands On Acupuncture