Blog#44: Acupuncture Can Support Your Health through the Holidays
The holidays, beginning with Halloween, with its sugar overload, moving on through Thanksgiving, with its massive feast, and ending with Christmas, Kwanza or Hanukah, with their rituals, rich food and close interaction with family and friends, can stress our digestive and nervous systems. Acupuncture, with its ability to calm the mind and relax the body, as well as its ability to support the digestive and eliminative systems, can be helpful at the times we encounter these stressors, and also afterward, when we may be suffering some of the discomforts arising from the holidays’ excesses and other challenges.
A skillful acupuncture treatment can help relax the gallbladder sphincter and allow it to empty into the duodenum, thus taking stress off the liver. This can alleviate or eliminate abdominal pain which some of us experience after a large meal of rich food. This same treatment approach can also help relax tense muscles, especially the gluteals and the piriformis (all located in the buttock area), the muscles running along the spinal column (the paraspinal muscles), and muscles in the thighs and legs.
A special combination of acupuncture points, referred to as the four gates, can help circulate blood and energy throughout the body and result in a more relaxed body and a calmer mind. Special points on the abdomen located on either side of the navel as well as above and below the navel, can often help alleviate constipation, gas, abdominal bloating, and even acid reflux. Included below is a link to an article published by the University of Chicago listing the many scientifically proven benefits of a good acupuncture treatment. http://www.uchospitals.edu/online-library/content=P00171
Quite a few points on the body respond well to direct or circular clockwise pressure; they are safe and are worth a try if you find yourself in discomfort and unable to find an acupuncturist for treatment. One point is liver 3 (translated from the Chinese as Great Surge), located between the first and second toes. Below is a link to an excellent short You Tube instruction about locating and massaging this point. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsYtzlrp1Ls
A point that can be helpful in strengthening the function of the digestive tract and giving us more energy to get through those long hours of holiday festivity, is stomach 36 (translated from the Chinese as Leg Three Miles), located on the lateral aspect of the calf approximately three inches below the inferior border of the kneecap (patella). Below is a link which shows how to locate and massage this point. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8wF9QEKCYU
One last tip involves moving the hand downward, from one acupuncture point on the abdomen to another. All the points encountered in this downward sweeping motion are located on the midline of the abdomen. The uppermost point, Conception Vessel 12 (translated from the Chinese as Central Venter), is located approximately five inches above the navel, on the midline. Below is a link to help you locate this point. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAf94gk5KoY The bottom-most point, Conception Vessel 4 (translated from the Chinese as Gate of Origin), is located approximately three inches below the navel, also on the midline. It is vital to make sure the sweeping motion is only directed downward; do not run your fingers back up this line in order to reach CV12 to repeat the sweep. Instead, remove your hand completely from the abdomen and then place it again on CV12. Below is a link that will help you locate CV4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPo7IW0FRIw
This blog’s offer: contact me for an appointment to help you make it comfortably through the holidays, while retaining vitality and peace of mind.