By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and
Third by experience, which is the bitterest. ~ Confucius
Reflection is the process in which an image or idea comes back to us, such as looking in a mirror, rethinking an event, or reviewing an idea. We have the opportunity to take a closer view and reconsider our original thinking.
A new year and a new season is a perfect opportunity to reflect and use that knowledge as a catalyst for change. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help achieve the change you seek as it assists in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizes aches and pains, improves energy and you find yourself in better balance. This calm and clarity strengthen your resolve as you start the new year with new goals.
Reflection has other connotations in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Outer appearances reflect inner health so a well-trained practitioner of acupuncture and oriental medicine will observe very different aspects of your appearance than you typically study when you look in the mirror. In acupuncture and oriental medicine, bodily observation includes looking at the face, eyes, body type, demeanor, and tongue. Two thousand years ago, when acupuncture and Oriental medicine was in its infancy, there were no x-ray machines or the very sophisticated magnetic imaging of today. These healers and diagnosticians depended on their finely tuned observational skills in order to assess their patients. Some of those early ideas seem simplistic today but many elements of diagnosis persist because outer appearances do provide clues to a person’s health.
Oriental medicine has used tongue diagnosis for thousands of years. An experienced practitioner can look at your tongue and begin to understand your internal problems but you can also be aware of the information that your tongue provides. Look for changes in the color of your tongue, teeth marks, shape, and coating. These changes may indicate that something is amiss. A healthy tongue is naturally the same pink-red color as your lips. Someone who is very stressed or irritable may have a tongue with a red tip and sides. Teeth marks may indicate a deficiency or insomnia. Note any changes in the shape of your tongue. If it’s too pale, puffy or red it may indicate an imbalance.
Healthy tongues have a thin white coating. If you see a thicker coating developing, you may be catching a cold or flu. If the coating appears yellowish the illness has a hotter nature and you can also expect a sore throat and yellow phlegm. If the coating is thick and white, this indicates a cold with chills and clear/white phlegm but without a sore throat. So if you see a thick coat developing take precautions, rest, sleep more and keep warm.
Ear Massage is an extremely relaxing and effective therapy aimed at reducing stress, promoting wellbeing and addressing various health issues. It can be enjoyed by all and promotes a deep sense of peace and tranquility.
Ear massage triggers the release of the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins. Studies have demonstrated that ear stimulation increases levels of endorphins in both the blood and cerebrospinal fluid.
Ear acupuncture is used throughout the world to calm anxiety, manage pain, reduce substance cravings and assist in the detoxification of addictive substances.
1. Rub in small circular motions with your thumbs inside the widest upper part inside the ears, holding them from outside with the index and middle fingers.
2. Use your index finger to massage inside the smaller crevices if your thumbs don’t fit and along the front of your ear where it attaches to the head.
3. Lastly, massage the earlobes by gently pulling them down and also making circles with your thumb and index finger.
Our society puts a premium on our waking hours and has the tendency to underestimate the importance of a full night's sleep. Often, good sleep hygiene is an afterthought for many people. Millions of people are besieged with insomnia and look for quick fixes instead of exploring the root causes of the problem.
Evening is a time to allow our minds and bodies to turn inward to our subconscious. Excessive lighting at night, evening shift work, evening computing, video games, television and late-night eating all serve to counteract the body’s natural rhythms. It’s no wonder people have trouble sleeping. Exposure to early morning light and dusk helps to regulate sleep hormones in the body. Rather than embracing night time we tend to let our minds wander from one element of stress to another keeping us up for hours or perhaps an entire evening. We are then forced to approach the new day without having benefited from the regenerative powers that night time brings.
In Oriental medicine, sleep occurs when the yang energy of the day folds into Yin – nighttime. Yin energy of the body is cooling and restorative. It is the time of day when our bodies turn inward and regenerate. This is the time we dream and explore the caverns of our unconscious mind. Conversely, daytime is yang, which is expansive. We expend the energy we have built up from the process of sleeping. Together, this is the cycle of yin and yang.
To apply the concept of yin and yang to your everyday life try eating your last meal at least three hours before going to bed. If you are a hot excess type, you can cool your body down by avoiding hot and spicy food and drink. Avoid alcohol, coffee, chocolate any other stimulants, especially late in the day.
Help circulate your body’s energy by working out or by gentle exercising. Build your body’s nutritive aspect by eating marrow based soups and stews, dark pigmented vegetables and fruits. Avoid overworking or over rumination as well.
Meditation is an invaluable tool to help your brain unwind. Helping the body create a sense of calm meditation can reduce stress, increase feelings of well-being, and improve overall health. It is of specific use to help one increase alertness, relaxation and reflection even in “waking” states. Meditation is best practiced during the day to help ease your sleep patterns at night.
One contributor to insomnia, stress, weakens the function of the liver, which in turn affects the health of your nerves. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have a calming effect on the nervous system clearing obstructions in the muscle and nerve channels, assisting the flow of oxygen-enriched energy and relaxing the system. Common noted benefits include deeper breathing, improved digestive abilities, better sleeping patterns, and a general sense of well being.
Seasonal acupuncture treatments serve to nurture and nourish your kidney Qi which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness and increasing vitality. Contact a trusted acupuncturist near you, or if you live in the Orange County area (California), contact Dr. Anna @ www.moveyourqi.com.