If you have been here for awhile you know I am a big fan of how smart the human body is. In its purest form, the body is highly adaptable. We are literally designed to live in our native environments with little help from outside factors. Our ancestors lived off the land, built shelter out of native materials and our bodies, in essence, do the same.
As the seasons transition and new plant growth begins to emerge, the native and seasonal foods begin to blossom. But for some, that growth can cause some systemic upheaval. It isn’t fully known why some people develop seasonal allergies or food sensitivities but it has been documented, at least anecdotally, that people who relocate far from their native lands, often have a hard time adapting to the new local diet and new local flora. And there does seem to be some genetic predisposition to allergies. Making you wonder if there is a link between where your ancestors are from and what your body is optimized to eat (and breathe). Of course there is a lot to consider here- from pesticides, to pollution, to major lifestyle shifts over the centuries. We are no longer living off the land. We are importing foods from different climates, or modifying crops to grow (what should be) seasonal foods, year round. We have indoor plumbing and heating systems so that we no longer have to adapt to the weather the way our ancestors did. In many ways that is seen as progress. But in other ways, it has introduced some new challenges to the adaptable human body.
Couple that with the time of year when one day its cold, and warm the next, it is only natural that the body isn’t quite sure what to do to keep you healthy. In the Spring and Fall when there are many common allergens afloat in the air, a body will begin to develop antibodies to help fight off the allergens. And in Winter when there is a flu virus circulating, your body will work to fight off that particular virus. But when the weather can’t seem to make up its mind, the body is left doing A LOT of work. If you think you are over-worked, you should check in with your immune system. That thing is on 24/7!
So how do we make this work in our favor? You guessed it self care. Keeping a regular sleep schedule as the seasons transition is vital to maintaining a healthy immune system. Drink plenty of water. Eat your seasonal fruits and vegetables. Move your body. And of course, get acupuncture!
I get this question all the time and I totally understand it. Most people come to acupuncture as a “last resort”. They have already exhausted other measures such as medications, injections, surgeries, PT, massage, chiropractic care and so on. Doctor after Doctor, appointment after appointment and they are tired. I understand. I’ve been there. That is how I found acupuncture, too.
But here is the thing: There is no magic bullet to true healing. Acupuncture is not a band-aid the way some “treatments” are. It seeks to address the cause of your symptoms and that, unfortunately, takes time. You would not expect to do ONE sit up and get a 6-pack would you? Or to take ONE blood pressure pill and never need another, would you? Change is possible, but it takes time and repetition. Your body has all the necessary ingredients to reverse most symptoms but it has to have the right circumstances to do so. And the primary circumstance is a commitment to repetition.
Will you need acupuncture forever? Not likely. Might you need it long term? Possibly. Are there any guarantees- NOPE. But don’t let that frighten you. Nearly everyone gets some kind of relief with the right time commitment. I have many patients that achieve a symptom- free state who choose to keep getting regular acupuncture because they like it. Or they are afraid to cut back because they do not want their symptoms to return.
“Regular” treatment or maintenance means different things for different people. Some people have symptoms that arise from a lifestyle issue. For example- if you have a job that requires you to stand all day but standing for too long hurts your back. If you are not close to retirement and are facing many more years on your feet, it is vital to find a balance that both reduces pain but also keeps you healthy enough to continue working. As you become symptom free, that is when we play around with what treatment frequency will work to keep you in optimal health. Some people come every other week, some come once a month, some come 4 times a year. Some disappear entirely until a symptom acts up again. It all depends on your particular circumstances. But we will work as a team to find out what works for you.