New Year's Resolutions: How Acupuncture Can Help!
It's the beginning of the new year, and everyone wants to start off on the right foot. Cast off the negative habits of the past and become part of new light and energy moving forward. Making changes, big or small, in life requires both consistency and motivation.
These can be physical changes, such as improving eating habits or fitness, or more abstract, like finding time to meditate regularly or finding more joy in day-to-day life. Regardless of a person's goal, bringing a variety of tools to bear can benefit the practice and increase the possibility of creating lasting, meaningful change.
Why Create Resolutions?
Most of us create resolutions because our lives aren't perfect- most are far from it! Perfectly healthy, contented people may make goals for personal growth, but resolutions are for those who are aware of our flaws and want to do something about them. Whether those flaws are internal, I just wish I could get up earlier, I could do so much more with my day, or external, I want to find a better job, one I really enjoy, resolutions are about making improvements, big or small, that bring us closer to our ideal versions of ourselves and our lives.
Making resolutions on New Year's is both practical and symbolic. The New Year is about a new, fresh start. The days start getting longer again (for those in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), and we start to feel like we have the time and energy to move past the rush of the holidays and focus on others to focus on ourselves and our needs. Working on the self isn't selfish. In fact, when we are better and stronger in our self-care habits, we can be more present and participate more fully in the world around us: our families, our friends, and at work.
Could we make these big commitments to change on any given rainy Tuesday? Sure. But where's the drama in that? Where's the feeling of meaning and importance? Making resolutions for the New Year gives us a convenient and easy-to-remember start date, as well as the elegance of participating in a common community tradition.
How Acupuncture Helps
Acupuncture and New Year's Resolutions may not be the first naturally occurring connection most people have, but the two can be deeply entwined. Our resolutions come from areas of our lives in which we feel blocked. By making these commitments to change, we seek to overcome these barriers, pushing our energy toward our goals. Sound familiar?
Acupuncture, first and foremost, works by interacting with the body's natural energy field, manipulating it to areas from areas with an excess to areas in need. Acupuncture can also have a positive impact on the mental landscape. Depression, stress, and anxiety are all features of an unfulfilled or unfulfilling lifestyle.
When used in conjunction with a personal commitment to change, acupuncture can be extremely effective at addressing these issues and reducing their pernicious effects. To wit, acupuncture can physically support your changes if you have the desire and open-mindedness to seek change. It becomes a positive, self-reinforcing cycle. With each step forward along your pathway, acupuncture can remind your body that change isn't always painful, that change is a feature of growth, and that the future doesn't have to be a place of fear.
Acupuncture for Common New Year's Resolutions
If this all sounds a bit mystical, then let's explore the biological, evidence-based perspective. One of the most common resolutions people in the US make is to lose weight. Whether for aesthetics, wellness, fitness, or personal development, weight loss is a goal many people share.
So, how can acupuncture help? Not only can acupuncture address metabolic issues which may cause weight gain, but it can also improve the functionality of the digestive system, suppress appetite, and increase overall energy. Research has supported this conclusion time and again, though the specific mechanisms of efficacy were not specified.
Another frequent resolution people make is to quit smoking. No one disagrees that smoking is dangerous, dirty, and expensive. Quitting at any time can let the body begin to heal and reverse some of the health impacts. Acupuncture has also been studied in this area, with equally meaningful results. Treatment for quitting smoking via acupuncture works by supporting the body as it detoxes from nicotine and reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Rounding out the top three New Year's resolutions is eliminating or reducing stress. Alas, an acupuncturist can't come to your workplace and tell your boss to be nicer to you. However, a professional acupuncturist can help you cope more effectively with workplace stress and enhance your commitment to making changes in your life that reduce your stress responses to challenging situations. Western medicine has performed studies exploring how acupuncture can reduce physical impacts of stress, such as high blood pressure, stress-induced depression, perceived stress levels, and even PTSD symptoms.
Why Does Acupuncture Work?
If the exact mechanism of acupuncture were precisely understood and detailed, it would doubtless be the front-line treatment in many medical settings in the US. As best as western medicine can document, acupuncture works on the body by stimulating the central nervous system.
Recall that all of our perceptions, from temperature to the passing of time, are modulated through our nervous system and then interpreted by our brains. Acupuncture, working with the nervous system, can alter those perceptions to be more effective, productive, and reliable.
Traditionally, the explanation is similar. Acupuncture works by manipulating the body's energy field, which is subject to blockages and overflows. Imagine your body's energy field to be a vast system of interconnected waterways. A dam in one area leads to a flood in another. When the body's energy is blocked or overflowing (dammed or flooded), we experience that as a physical or mental disorder. Acupuncture treatment uses fine needles to precisely manipulate and correct these imbalances, leading to health and wellness.
We hope you are able to use acupuncture to bring you health and wellness in the New Year!
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!