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Acupuncture for relaxation & happiness

Acupuncture for relaxation and happiness

Acupuncture is very effective in enabling a person to relax more deeply. In our fast-paced modern lifestyles sometimes we are mind-orientated and tense; we may even have even forgotten how to relax. As acupuncture works by moving and balancing energy in the body, it simultaneously makes the person feel more relaxed. In fact often people come for acupuncture for other health reasons and discover deep relaxation as a byproduct, and then get used to that feel good factor as part of their acupuncture experience.

In Chinese understanding tension causes blockages of energy in the body and will affect particular meridians and organs. As people are individual and we all have innate strengths and weaknesses tension affects us all in different ways.

Often tension can lead to a build up of energy which affects the channels relating to the liver and the gallbladder. The area of the body associated with these organs and their respective meridians are around the shoulders; the Trapezius muscles, and up through the neck around the Occiput, also around the temples and head. The build up and stagnation of energy can cause muscle tension, pain, spasm and headaches. As this type of tension-energy seeks to find an outlet this situation can result in anger being expressed. Whilst acting out anger and shouting can take some pressure out of the system, it’s not a wise long-term solution and may cause guilt to the perpetrator and hurt to loved ones. This type of blocked energy if unresolved and allowed to become chronic can lead to habitual anger, migraines and high blood pressure among other possible symptoms. This type of example of blocked tension is seen as a “yang” situation in Chinese and is more often seen in men. Certain occupations which involve repetitive physical activity, especially if combined with poor posture can exacerbate these symptoms. Desk and computer work in modern society is a prime example and is also associated with sedentary living which can lead to more “stagnation of energy” or blocked energy and tension in the body.

Anoher way tension may manifest as blocked energy is in the chest area, associated with the heart and pericardium in Chinese understanding. Stuck energy here can cause physical symptoms such as shallow/problematic breathing or heart palpitations. As the heart is seen as a very pivotal organ with regard to the emotions, tension in this location is often coupled with anxiety, nervousness, or also the state of being emotionally “cut-off”, not able to feel a healthy array of emotions or warmth with others. Unresolved these symptoms can develop into more serious pathology of the heart or lungs and/or long-term depression amongst other possible conditions. This type of example would tend to be seen more commonly in women and is related more to the “yin” aspects in Chinese medicine. Background causative factors associated with these symptoms can include chronic unexpressed emotions (such as grief, anger), poor breathing habits, smoking, poor posture, emotional excesses/habits and hereditary factors.

The above are only a couple of examples of how everyday tension can lead to disharmony and illness. Tension can ultimately lead to a variety of possibilities including obsessive mental states, eating disorders, insomnia, PMT or hormonal imbalance, urinary dysfunction, and pain in various locations in the body. Acupuncture theory really is a system which encompasses and understands the inter-relationship between apparently mild symptoms such as “just a bit of tension” and their development into serious diseases affecting specific organs and bodily function.

Acupuncture is used to affect energy in a variety of differing ways. For the above example of tension headaches the blocked energy might need to be moved along channels and either balanced in the meridians or repelled from the body via the meridian system. The treatment result would be better free flow of energy in the channels and simultaneously the person feeling more relaxed and able to focus in a balanced (and therefore constructive) way. The second example above, pertaining to emotional tension would also be resolved according to the specific diagnoses. If it is found that there is a lack; a deficiency of energy in the heart, acupuncture will help to bring energy to the area and to balance it. Alternatively there might be a stagnation of energy in the chest area, as can be the case with palpitations; the energy would be dispersed as treatment. If the heart has been “closed” emotionally for whatever reason, acupuncture will gently start to help an natural relaxation and “opening”. The natural emotion related to the heart in Chinese understanding is joy, however this organ must be free of blockages and disease to express it’s natural capacity. When the heart is “open” and relaxed the person is able to feel happiness, joy and love.

During an acupuncture session there is often an experience of profound relaxation. There can be spontaneous realisation of positive emotions and through a course of treatment a deepening into the knowledge of who we really are as alive, joyous human “being.”

lower back pain


Lower back pain

Acupuncture can be one of the most effective therapies for relieving back pain.

Back pain is one of the most common conditions seen by acupuncturists. There are different types of back pain which are categorised into different ways in acupuncture theory as there are various symptoms, causes and treatment.

Lower back pain is often due to a weakness of the energy of the kidneys in Chinese medicine. Often the Kidney energy is weakened over time through overwork – this can relate to literally working very long hours, or may be related to general overactivity in life. In Chinese medicine the kidneys correspond to the element of water and physiologically / emotionally to willpower. Sometimes a person has a very strong will to keep on “doing” in life, however they may be overdoing it in relation to their energy. The season associated with the kidneys is winter. As nature outside lies dormant during the winter, the kidneys naturally need a place to “rest”. It is possible to support this deeper, resting aspect of the kidneys through having quiet or meditative time. Any activity which focuses the person’s attention inward; yin, instead of outward; yang, will nurture the fundamental energy of this organ. For the individual it is necessary for the outwardly focused willpower to be turned inward to a more contemplative way of being.

Sometimes exercise can also help to reduce lower back pain, but it may be that if it does not, or if it exacerbates the pain, that the kidneys are needing some of their natural “habitat” of quiet, rest, and inward reflection to really increase the energy. Certain types of exercise such as some types of yoga, and pilates have a meditative aspect to them so these may be more appropriate types of exercise for this type of lower back pain.

The kidneys also benefit from enough actual rest – through sleeping at night. Chinese medicine and acupuncture theory says the quality of sleep at night differs from that gained during the day. Night is more yin; quite, dark, less active and more restful. It might be that the person with the back pain benefits from deep, quality sleep at the appropriate time as this is another way to support and nourish the kidneys.

So, you may come to visit an acupuncturist hoping to “fix” your lower back pain and discover there may be a little more to it than that! Acupuncture treatment is very effective in relieving back pain, but there may also be other ways the treatment can be supported by your own behavior. Chinese medicine is truly a holistic modal, describing all of the inter-relationships of the human energetic system and hence you may be asked many questions or be given advice that could seem unrelated, but are very connected. As well as potentially reducing your symptoms more effectively and involving you in the treatment, this approach can help you to understand more about what lifestyle and habits really help you specifically to live your life with greater health.