Daily Tips From Your Acupuncturist (part 7)
A review of what we’re trying to do: 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!
Listen to your body
When our bodies are functioning properly, we have no symptoms, and we don’t have to use much effort to keep them that way, but when things aren’t functioning properly, our bodies give us signals, in the form of symptoms, to indicate that there is a problem. It is paying attention to these signals, and responding to them that gets us back to a state of health.
The example, I like it give is that of a car and its check engine light. When something goes wrong in your car, a little light will come on that says “check engine”. So what do you do? You take your car to the mechanic, the mechanic looks at the engine, figures out what is wrong, fixes it, and the light goes out. The “check engine” light was the cars’ “symptom” that there was a problem with the engine, and when the problem was resolved, the light or symptom went away. Unfortunately, that’s not typically how we treat our bodies. When our bodies malfunction, they give us symptoms as our own “check engine” lights, but when we go to the doctors’ office, instead of trying to figure out what is wrong with our “engines” they use medications to cover up the symptoms. It’s like cutting the wire that serves the check engine light in the car. If we just covered up the check engine light in the car, what would happen? The problem would get worse and worse and might cause other problems, and then eventually the car would break down completely! The same thing happens in our bodies! When we cover up symptoms, or the signals that our bodies are giving us, the body will try and signal in a different way, so we get another symptom, and another symptom, until all of a sudden it seems, we are really sick! So that fatigue, and feelings of stress, and minor neck pain, etc. that we have been ignoring or taking medications for, or just dealing with for the past 20+ years grows and grows until we have something major occur like cardiovascular disease. It’s much, much easier to treat these problems and regain bodily function when they are small, but once they get big, they are more difficult to treat and reverse.
So, listen to your body! If you are experiencing symptoms, it means that something is not functioning the way it is supposed to and should be addressed now, while it is still a smaller issue. Natural remedies, whether is exercise, diet, or manual therapies (acupuncture, massage, etc.), are great at helping these symptoms so you get relief, but the real reason to use them with these pesky symptoms (like pain and fatigue) is that it will help to restore proper organ function so that larger illnesses can be prevented.