Acupuncture is one of the best forms of preventative medicine available today. The goal of acupuncture is to maintain balance within the energy channels so that disease will not present itself. Maintaining balance ensures that there is not too much (an excess) of energy in one channel and a lack of (deficiency) of energy in another channel. Chinese herbs are also used for this purpose; to clear out any excess, support any deficiency or treat any resulting pathologies. From an emotional perspective, I have found that when people become stressed or emotionally vulnerable, any preexisting deficiency becomes a more serious problem. For example, the person who has a long history of digestive disorders gets severe digestive problems when they experience a loss in their life. Or a person who has a long history of allergies and frequent colds get a long standing cough that will not go away when life becomes stressful.
With this idea in mind, it is important to be aware of our constitutional deficiencies and make sure to support them so that these small annoyances do not become more serious illnesses. This is where the beautiful art of TCM comes into play. Often times, patients who come see us are unaware of their imbalances. It is not uncommon for people to say “I thought everyone has seasonal allergies”, or “I’ve had bloating and gas for so long I don’t even notice it anymore”. Although these symptoms may be common to some people, they are signs of energetic imbalances that can become more troublesome over time. From a TCM perspective, emotions cannot be separated from the physical body; there is no question that our emotions (over time) will have a strong effect on our bodies. Long term exposure to one emotion will definitely wreak havoc on the body. (For example, think of stress and blood pressure!)
Of course, maintenance acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs are the most effective way to address these imbalances. Our patients often come to us once an imbalance has already presented itself. The severity of their condition, I have found, is related to the duration of the problem; the longer a person has suffered from an emotional trauma, the more severe the problem. The best way to avoid such problems is twofold: First, identify your constitutional deficiencies and second allow yourself to process your emotions. The first part may or may not be easy for us to identify for ourselves. This is where the acupuncturist really helps! The second part of this maintenance program is very difficult for most of us. When something “bad” happens, most people just want to get on with life. They don’t allow themselves to be angry, sad, hurt, etc. Just because we don’t allow ourselves to process these emotions does not mean that these emotions go away! These buried feelings will attack our constitutional deficiencies and can cause imbalances (even disease) over time.