The Mind-Body Healing Connection
Do you have time to cook healthy balanced meals? Do you have time for regular exercise? Do you have time to relax? Do you have time to sleep?
And lastly, do you have time to be sick? The average family of 4 takes about 2 weeks to recover from the common cold.
Our body already knows how to restore itself. We just have to provide the tools it needs for repair. The newest way to think about healing (which coincidentally, is the oldest) is how to nurture what’s good rather then destroying what’s bad. Nurturing the body’s innate healing abilities through lifestyle choices has long been a cornerstone of disciplines such as TCM. My conviction is that healing is less about battling illness and more about nourishing life.
Acupuncture to the Rescue!
Knowing this, I can tell you that acupuncture can help regulate your digestion, decrease inflammation and pain, promote sleep, and allow your mind and body to relax. If you provide your body with adequate food, exercise, rest and relaxation then you will avoid many illnesses and your quality of life will be at its optimum state.
Acupuncture comes into the picture when your mind-body needs that extra help to metabolize your food better; exercise without pain; sleep better; and help relax your mind so that your body can go back to it’s extraordinary healing power and not get bogged down by imbalances.
Good quality food speeds wound healing. Why not create an inner healing environment by feeding your body the nutrients that boost immune function and lower inflammation.
Healing happens all the time, it‘s happening all over the body which is why you can do more to aid the healing of a cut than slap on a band-aid.
Regular moderate exercise promotes circulation which helps detoxify the body, strengthens muscles (including the heart), and increases nutrient and oxygenation of cells-all of which are critical for healthy immune function. In Chinese medicine, exercise is considered an activation of qi, or energy flow, which can, in turn, improve one’s ability to fight disease and heal.
Relaxation and pleasure are healing states of mind and if we don’t visit them regularly we compromise the body’s ability to recover from its daily traumas. Admiring a work of art, listening to music, or tending a garden aren’t just fun but part of a comprehensive health insurance plan. Doing things you enjoy, triggers the brain to release feel-good chemicals. As a matter of fact, researchers have established that biochemicals, released from the brain during various mood states affect how well the body repairs itself. Negative feelings (such as anxiety, fear and lonliness) trigger stress hormones which inhibit the immune system, while positive feelings (like happiness, love, and peacefulness) can boost our immune system and thus our healing ability.
Sleep Baby Sleep!
Sleep is a vital link to good health. Many of the body’s major restorative functions-tissue repair and muscle growth, happen mostly or exclusively during sleep. Studies have linked sleep deprivation with lowered immune ability, increased obesity and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease, cancer and stroke. Adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
If You’re Living, You’re Healing
It’s not a single stressor that makes you sick-it’s the cumulative effect of many stressors on the body, mind, spirit that wear you down and make you vulnerable. Every moment of the day, we deal with insults to our emotional, physical, and spiritual selves. Those insults can come in the form of cuts, scrapes, viruses, allergens, junk food,, muscle strains, anxiety, heartbreak, and more.
We all have the natural mechanisms for ongoing healing in our bodies. As long as you’re living, you’re healing which is why it’s so important that you allow your body to function at it’s maximum potential through healthy choices.
Shawna E.M. Snyder graduated with a Masters degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture in Boston, MA, a 4-year program. Shawna is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is licensed as a Doctor of Acupuncture by the State of Rhode Island through the department of health.