Daily Tips From Your Acupuncturist!
What is some wisdom we can get from Chinese Medicine? Really, it’s all about self-care. There are several very simple practices that, when committed to, can drastically improve a persons’ health, quality of life, and even help to alleviate symptoms. The catch is, they have to be done regularly! Because of this, I have decided to launch a series of posts that will look at some of these simple practices and help you to adopt them into your routines and help improve your health and quality of life!
Let’s go ahead and kick it off right away with….
The Importance of Breathing, REALLY breathing.
According to Chinese Medicine, the Lungs help to govern the circulation of qi in the body, which correlates well with the Western view of the lungs and their role in oxygenating the blood which the heart then pumps throughout the body. When we feel stress, our breath automatically becomes more shallow. When our breath is shallow, it deprives our system of oxygen so more of a stress response is elicited, and breathing then becomes more rapid. Shallow, rapid, and tense breathing tells the body to remain in that state of stress and we begin to experience the state of “fight-or-flight”. By focusing on our breath, and allowing it to be slow, deep, and easy, we pull back on the stress response. Too much stress is hard on our adrenals which affects our entire endocrine system and throws off the balance of our hormones. Hormones are the communication system of the body, so if they aren’t balanced correctly, it’s as if our body cannot communicate with itself, and therefore systems do not function properly.
A daily breathing practice can be one of the quickest ways to “re-pattern” the nervous system. There are many types of breathing practices that work well, and the best one is the one you will do every day. What I mean by that is that it is better to have one that might be less effective that you are able to adopt a daily practice of rather than one that might be more effective but you aren’t able to get in the habit of. You can start by setting an alarm on your watch or phone to go off once an hour to remind you to do some deep breathing for a minute, or even just a few deep breaths. You could set time aside after you eat your lunch to do 5 or 10 minutes of focused breathing. You can listen to a breathing session on your phone or computer (youtube has some great free ones) once a day before bed. Any of these will do, as long as you DO them.
If everyone spent a little time every day just focusing on their breathing and breathing deep into their bellies, many of their physical symptoms could be reversed.
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