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Is health about the chicken or the egg?

Updated: May 6, 2021

It might seem a little unusual that the blog of an acupuncturist and massage therapist has so many quotes and comments about our mental and spiritual life. I like to get to the root of things, to help my clients sort out why they are experiencing their symptoms. It's easier to get rid of a symptom quickly if we can identify and reduce the factors that have caused it to develop or interfered with the body's healing process. Preventing problems in the first place creates the best quality of life.

As we have been told many times, stress makes everything worse. Stress tires and wears the body out. When we are in fight or flight mode, our muscles become tense and sore, all aspects of digestion are impaired, and our circulatory system is overtaxed. We don't heal or detox well because those are activities we carry on during sleep, and stress impairs our ability to get restful sleep.

What is stress, more specifically? It's fear, worry, disturbing or negative thoughts that repeat over and over, anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness, or a combination of these and other thoughts and emotions. As an acupuncturist, I am trained to find and address their specific physical and mental manifestations. I have noticed that we experience a kind of feedback loop: 1. Emotions like sadness or anger cause expressions that can be seen on a person's face and in their body posture. 2. Our habitual arrangement of bodily tension can eventually lead to pain or dysfunction. 3. Our physical discomfort can trigger the corresponding emotions and thoughts. And then we are back at 1. Acupuncture treatment takes us out of fight or flight and can help interrupt that feedback loop by changing the arrangement of bodily tension.

But what about preventing stress? Why do stress and negative emotions and thoughts arise in the first place? For me the answer to that question is a spiritual one. Our ability to be at peace with ourselves, at ease with others, and able to navigate with some level of calm and focus into an unknown future are some of the most important themes of spiritual writers and sacred texts.

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