I hadn't a lot of weight to lose, but after losing almost 45 pounds two years years ago, I was noticing the weight creep back on and wanted to "nip it in the bud as Barney Fife would say, when I noticed I'd put back on 15 pounds.
I've stopped the weight gain in its tracks with just some small changes, and it's slowly dropping back where I should be at my original weight within three months. I'll continue to post as eating healthy and being fit is a life long journey.
Today's post is something I'd never had tried if not for the recommendation of a colleague who is incredibly fit and trim post menopause.
I HATE needles though I donate blood regularly, being one of those "O" types the blood banks like to see. Still - I hate it and despite reading on all the health related benefits of this ancient Chinese medical practice, I refused to try it.
But I was told by someone I know well and trust that it does NOT hurt in the slightest and the effects are amazing, both on stress, overall health AND weight loss as it greatly aids in the reduction of stress hormones - beneficial for stress, aging and weight loss! So I was willing to give it a try and am SO glad I did.
Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites--commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe, and the body, in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called "qi" (pronounced "chee") flows along specific pathways, called meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. However, if the flow of energy gets blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy can release blocked qi in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems. Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture’s effects on the nervous system, endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help to resolve pain, and improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.
I started treatment before the holidays - going in once a week to a local practitioner who has been part of our Village's business community of good standing for over 12 years, with a Masters of Science in the subject. Acupuncturists go through rigorous schooling similar to a medical doctor before qualifying to sit for the Board Exam. Sterile needs are used only once and then disposed in a bio hazard container.
After an extremely detailed analysis of my health history and concerns what followed was 30 minutes of relaxing on a warm table after the "needles" had been inserted in specific points based on my overall health goals. I walked out of there as relaxed as if I'd had an hour long full body massage. But unlike massage, a general feeling of well being and calm lasted for several days, a reduction in stress that was noticeable after just my first treatment.
Why try acupuncture?
It does NOT hurt as you are not being poked with a hypodermic needle but an acupuncture needle that is fine like a hair, with no hole in the middle. You feel a gentle prick against the skin in some locations, that's not at ALL painful (and other locations you don't even feel it.) When acupuncture needles are inserted, it causes the nervous system to calm down and the body to release endorphins. Endorphins have been shown to reduce pain, stress, and feelings of frustration and irritability, regulate the production of growth and sex hormones, and control cravings for chocolate and other substances. They say that when endorphins are released, the feelings can be described as: peaceful, blissful, euphoric, optimistic, and joyful. I have to agree,
It's enjoyable. It's like a spa treatment (but one with medical benefits that my insurance does cover). The treatment rooms are typically private and warm, with beautiful art on the walls and soothing music.
THAT alone resulted in a one pound weight loss in two weeks without doing anything else AND eating big mashed potato filled meals during Christmas that normally causes me to gain 2-3 pounds during the two weeks around Christmas.
Reduction in Stress: Stress? Let's see, two moves, new marriage, promotion at work in a very male dominated profession, two wonderful but rambunctious grand-kids under the age of 6, care for an elderly widowed parent, two Amazon #1 best sellers and all the book tours and signings that go with that, AND a mostly meniscus free knee that hurts all the time, and a 100 year old house we're restoring ourselves. All in 2 years. And dog hair - don't forget dog hair. Yup - I'm stressed and we all know that's "desserts" spelled backwards. My practitioner said it may sometimes take a few visits to get a noticeable reduction in stress for the occasional person, but I had that with just one treatment and felt better than I had in years and slept like a baby that first night.
Many insurance plans do cover it and. you may wonder, as I did, WHY I didn't do this 20 years ago?