If you've come to our clinic - or even if you haven't but have perused our new patient paperwork online - then you know we ask A LOT of questions about every aspect of your health at your first appointment. These questions aren't random; knowing what seemingly random symptoms you experience guides us to what your underlying imbalances are so that we can help your body even them out. Of course, it takes years of training to be able to read the body and make accurate diagnoses, but that doesn't mean you can't listen to it as well. In fact, we encourage our patients to get in tune with their bodies because they will always have a more intimate understanding of what's off than any objective evaluation or test can (in our opinion anyway). That being said, when you have an annoying "glitch" in your wellness, what do you do?
Let's use a headache as an example: You wake up one morning with a pressure in your temples and notice that it starts to build as you begin getting ready for your workday. What do you do? Many people would just take something to get rid of it - say an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen or supplement like turmeric - without thinking. However, what if you looked at that headache as your body trying to tell you something? The next step would be to reflect on this message and brainstorm possible solutions to address the root issue. Here's an example of things to ask yourself:
- Did I eat or drink something that my body didn't like yesterday? What could that have been and have I noticed issues like this in the past after ingesting it? If so, maybe I should avoid it for a while and see how I feel.
- How much water did I drink yesterday? Could this headache just be from dehydration? Maybe I should drink more water this morning and make sure to better track my water intake in the future.
- Did I not eat enough yesterday? I'll eat an ample, nutritious breakfast to give my body the fuel it needs for the day and see if that makes it happy.
- Did I not get enough sleep last night? What can I do to give my body more rest today? Maybe I can take a short break at work to meditate or even take a power nap during lunch.
- Can stress be causing the headache? I'll set a few alarms through the day to remind myself to stop and take a short walk or do some deep breathing to help myself relax.
Now you might say this is too simple. Of course, if you have persistent medical conditions then the help of a professional is hugely beneficial, but even if that's the case, you can still sharpen your detective skills by researching your condition, its possible causes, and simple lifestyle tweaks that others with similar issues have noticed made an impact on their health. This isn't the same as checking everything on WebMD - because while that can be helpful it can also lead you down a rabbit hole of negative information - but rather being positive about how your body is coping and healing and understanding the ways in which you can help it.
While we love helping our patients at the clinic, our deepest wish is that everyone becomes his or her own best health advocate, actively participating in their health and having a vested interested in how their body works. We encourage you to use our website, social media (including our new YouTube channel), and classes to learn more about holistic health and wish you luck on your journey of self-discovery!
Kathleen Ellerie is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the owner of Beachside Community Acupuncture. She loves providing affordable acupuncture to the residents of Addison, Dallas, and Farmers Branch, Texas, and educating the general public on how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat everything from pain to infertility to stress and beyond. Click "Book Now" at the top of this page to book an appointment or feel free to contact her at (214) 417-2260.