January 9, 2018
January is a time for starting the year on the right foot, and readjusting the things that got knocked over and forgotten by the mad end to last year.
For me, this often means looking inward and looking after myself and making priorities for the year to come. I don’t feel the need to do dry January or start working out more, those things I’m very happy with as I feel I have them in good balance. However, having trained as a gymnast for most of my life and then finding out I had an extra bone in my back (yep) my back pain has gotten to the point where I knew I needed to do something more about it. Pilates helps me a lot as this strengthens it while keeping it mobile, but I’ve been looking for something more to help me heal the damage I did to it.
I’ve always related to many ideas of Chinese medicine and acupuncture has done wonders for me in the past, but since moving back to London I couldn’t find any good recommendations about places to go. It wasn’t until I heard that Neal’s Yard had therapy rooms where acupuncture was one of the treatments on offer that I dared try out a new therapist. I was lucky enough to find Ka Hang Leoungk at Neal’s Yard.
She eloquently describes acupuncture like this:
Imagine a traffic jam during rush hour. Cars are blocking the road and no one can get anywhere. You start to feel tense around the neck and shoulders, you’re getting tired and annoyed, and oh no, now you need the bathroom as well.
Blocked, or a weak flow of qi in your body is just as bad. Illness or pain can result when this flow of qi is disrupted. Acupuncture works on rebalancing the body’s qi naturally without medication.
Now, if the traffic jam was suddenly removed: it would be a great feeling, right?
Along the channels are acupuncture points which are like junctions on a motorway, allowing access to the meridians. The acupuncture points are gateways to influence, redirect, and increase or decrease the body’s flow of qi, blood and vital substances to address many of the body’s imbalances.
At its simplest, acupuncture is the practice of inserting sterile hair-fine needles to an acupuncture point but that is like sticking your hand out to hail a taxi when there are none around. Now if you catch a cab driver’s attention and takes you as a passenger you have achieved success. In the same way, acupuncturists believe stimulating the qi in the channels somehow signals to the body’s system what it needs to do to resolve the condition.
I love the idea that our energy flow can get blocked and actually we just need to release it to feel better, both physically and mentally. That is what the tiny needles do (and no they don’t hurt!) they get the energy flowing properly. The same way we may get a knot in our back, we might have energy that’s gotten trapped in a certain part of the body. And acupuncture isn’t just for pain, it can help digestive problems, allergies, insomnia… anything your body is doing that might be a sign that things aren’t in sync.
It’s a great way to check in with your body and help yourself from the inside out. I know I’m going to continue my treatments there and feel much better for it.