Monday, January 6, 2014

Can Acupuncture Help You With Your New Year's Resolutions?

I'm not a big believer in New Year's Resolutions, mostly because, as I wrote in Resolution or Reflection, it is the wrong time of year for anything to stick. That being said, many people do make resolutions at this time of year that commonly have to do with their health: lose weight, get fit/ exercise more, eat better, quit smoking, quit diet soda (yes please!!), quit drinking, walk every day, run a marathon, relax more, get healthier, etc. These are all things that are important and often very challenging to do because they take time. How many times have you made a resolution and a month later (or a week later) it is already broken?

When it comes to your health, it should be a marathon, not a sprint. Health is something that builds slowly over time because it needs to sustain you; it is not something that is just for today. If you quit smoking it is not just for this week, you don't want to smoke ever again (hopefully). Diets fail because once the diet is over the weight comes back on. A lifestyle change is much more effective for long term results and feeling better over all, even if you are taking it one day at a time. Acupuncture can help you with many of these resolutions because acupuncturists help you look at your overall health to assist you in feeling the best you can feel.

Quitting smoking/drinking/diet soda:
Acupuncture calms the nervous system and helps ease cravings making it less effort to quit. It also supports the Lungs and can help your body get rid of the phlegm that accumulates as the body heals from the damage that smoking causes. Acupuncture supports the Liver which aids in the detox process, helping your body get rid of the build-up of chemicals that smoking, drinking and diet soda (or diet anything) can create. The fewer chemicals in your body, the better you feel. Acupuncture has been used to treat addiction in this country for decades to help people quit whatever substance it is they are wishing to quit. It treats both the physical symptoms as well as the psychological ones without side effects. However, you must want to quit; if you don't fully commit to quitting, you won't succeed.

Losing weight:
Unfortunately acupuncture is not the "magic bullet" that makes the weight just fall off your body. Sorry about getting your hopes up. However, acupuncture can help improve your metabolism to help your digestion and your ability to process food. Lack of hunger is not a sign of health, it is a sign that your body is out of balance. When hunger is too strong, acupuncture can help regulate that, as well as food cravings. Acupuncture can also help with stress. One reason that people gain weight is stress, not just due to "stress eating," but also stress slows down your metabolism making it much harder to lose weight. Your acupuncturist can also make dietary suggestions about foods that best support your particular imbalance and support your eating the best foods for your body.

Exercising more:
While acupuncture can't make you walk into the gym, it can support the work you do there. It can help relive sore muscles and help you heal from injuries. Plus acupuncture can help improve your energy so that you can work harder without feeling exhausted afterward (if you do feel exhausted after exercise you need to slow down and do less. Read more about that here).

If you are struggling with your New Year's resolutions, talk to your local acupuncturist. She or he might be able to help you be a better you for the entirety of the New Year.

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