Most likely you have seen the Yin/Yang symbol before. But have you ever wondered what it is? It is called the taijitu, the Taoist diagram depicting the symmetry and balance that is found nature.
Ancient Taoists observed that the natural world is comprised of opposites. Night and day, hot and cold, fire and rain… these are all simple examples of the balance that exists is nature. So too, they felt, do these opposing forces exist in our bodies. Vital health comes from the dynamic balance of opposites. When these elements are out of balance in one direction or the other, disease occurs. To restore health is to restore balance.
From this simple principle, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was born. To this day, acupuncturists assess the health of their patients based on observing patterns, and finding what is out of balance.
For example, we ask you questions like: Do you find that you generally feel too hot, or too cold? Are your bowel movements too loose, or too hard? Is your energy too restless or too tired? Is your libido in overdrive, or way under the table?
According to TCM, these are all indicators of where your health is out of balance, and this can lead to both physical and emotional problems. Our health can go out of balance for any number of reasons. Injury and stress are two major contributors, and then our lifestyle choices do the rest of the damage. The way we eat, the way we exercise or don’t, the substances we might abuse, the amount of work or rest we pursue, if our thoughts repeatedly veer towards anger, or grief, or fear… these all play a role in why our health starts to zig when it should zag.
For example, feeling too hot or too cold leads to different kinds of problems. People with too much cold in the body experience low blood pressure resulting in fatigue, dizziness or fainting. Digestion is slow leading to undigested food in one’s stool and diarrhea. Circulation is sluggish leading to cold hands and feet. This can also lead to deep, stabbing pain. For women it is behind a host of menstrual problems. Additionally cold contributes to low sex drive. There are many factors that contribute to developing too much cold in the body, such as living in a cold climate, sitting/walking barefoot on cold stones or pavement, taking antibiotics, and eating too many raw fruits and vegetables. Also a focus on fear or shame creates cold in the body. As part of treatment acupuncturists use heat lamps and other warming techniques, as well as prescribing herbal formulas that warm and circulate energy.
Heat of course has the opposite effect. Whereas with cold we see the blood and energy contract, with heat we see it accelerate and expand. High blood pressure, headaches, red eyes, restlessness and insomnia are all common symptoms of too much heat in the body. Certainly excessive sweating occurs. Heat dries out the bowels, leading to constipation. Tendons dry out and become more inclined to injury and musculoskeletal pain. We see more irritability, impatience, and explosive anger in a person who is overly hot. Libido can also rev up when there is too much heat in the body. Factors that contribute to an internally hot condition include living in a hot climate, eating fried or spicy foods, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and taking stimulants such as caffeine and other drugs. Also focusing on feelings of anger and jealousy increase internal heat. With acupuncture and herbal therapy we are able to drain heat from the body, leading to better sleep, a relaxed heart, and calmer perspective.
As the year comes to a close and we consider the past and the future, take a look at your health. Do you seem out of balance? Are you too tired, or too stressed, or in too much pain?
If you need help getting your health under control, acupuncture is an excellent way to bring your body and mind back into balance. It is painless, relaxing, and restorative. We accept insurance and make it easy for you to get quality healthcare that makes a real difference.
Call today to inquire if your healthcare plan covers acupuncture! (520) 318-5560.
Candice Thomas is a licensed acupuncturist in Tucson, specializing in chronic pain, stress relief, and prostate health. Visit her at www.LightWorksAcupuncture.com.