Make 2021 A Truly Happy New Year with Acupuncture!
The winter months can be a challenging time for our health and wellbeing. The cold and wet weather and shorter days can make it hard to get enough of that much needed sunlight and fresh air that keep us well in both body and mind. The festive, hearty and comforting foods on offer at this time of year, while thoroughly enjoyable, can easily tilt our dietary balance in the wrong direction, impacting negatively on our digestion, sleep and stamina. Added to this, our stress levels and emotional vulnerability are often put under huge pressure as the year draws to an end and we juggle the demands and expectations from others and ourselves. These combined physical and mental strains are certainly being felt more acutely than ever right now as we turn the page on what has been for many a very difficult and painful year.
Oriental Medicine and the philosophical principles on which it draws, tell us that in every obstacle, there is an opportunity. As such, the marking of the ‘New Year’ provides us with a perfectly timed moment to clear any physical and mental toxicity from the past and to focus on what really matters to us, to set meaningful goals for the short and longer term, and to start working on achieving our deep-held ambitions.
Powering Up Your Health and Wellbeing
It is no coincidence that this is the time of year when many of us typically decide to set specific goals for the year ahead as we connect with the emblematic empowerment of a new dawn to make well-intended resolutions to create a better life for ourselves. Such notions are indeed in perfect alignment with ideas that lie at the heart of acupuncture theory, and in particular a branch of this ancient system of medicine known as Five Element Acupuncture. According to Five Element Acupuncture, the winter months are associated with the element of Water, which is symbolic of power, determination and resilience as well as an ability to ‘change’ to reach our goals. Acupuncture treatments at this time of year, known as Horary Treatments, provide an ideal tool to support individual aspirations and to make sure that we follow through with our New Year resolutions.
Tuning into the Powerful Energy of Winter
As an energy-based medicine, acupuncture works to ensure that both the physical and mental energies generated in our system are functioning as they should. In practice, this means that when we call upon our energy stores for anything from pulling through a difficult situation or illness to sticking to our goals, we can do so. A trained acupuncturist will therefore ensure through a diagnosis based on a thorough review of a person’s everyday health and wellbeing, and other physical signs and symptoms, that this energetic flow is both accessible and strong. In many cases, particularly at this time of year, this will involve using specific acupuncture point combinations that support the removal of ‘blocks’ in our system and replenish our energy stores.
The selection of acupuncture points in a treatment is always highly individualised, as each person will be presenting with their own particular issues and symptoms. In Five Element Acupuncture, a seasonal affinity can be built into the treatment to further enhance effectiveness. The core idea is to tune into the energetic qualities of winter and water to rebalance and harmonise our system. For some people this could mean ‘cooling’ down their system, for others warming up or ‘defrosting’, and for others building up the momentum that will provide strength and appropriate energy.
Going with the Flow
Underlying all of these ideas however is the ability to change, something that the Water element is especially good at. When explaining these ideas to patients, I often simply explain that the health and energy of the Water element in acupuncture can be seen when watching how water behaves in the natural world. For example, when water flows down a river and hits a rock, it will find a way around so that it can keep flowing, demonstrating adaptability, cleverness and determination. Water’s energy and strength also come from knowing when to slow down and when to speed up, when to apply pressure and when to pull back, and so on.
These are all qualities that are reflected in the names of many acupuncture points that allude to the cleansing ability of water, the fertility it affords, the fresh and calming force it holds, and its resolve to find a way through mountains and valleys to reach and tap into the mighty power of oceans. It is easy to see how when these energies are out of sync we may be displaying a wide array of signs and symptoms, including poor memory, low energy, weakness, scatteredness, an inability to stick to our goals, mental instability, anxiety, infertility, as well as specific physical problems, notably those related to functions in areas around where the kidneys and bladder are located, or to issues indicating some level of water imbalance in our system – such as dry eyes, dry skin or water retention.
A Fresh Start to Be Your Very Best
Having acupuncture at this time of year will help you get that sense of starting with a clean slate, ensuring that you get your health and wellbeing off to a good start in 2021. It will help you clearly define what goals really matter to you, giving you the momentum and determination that you need to reach for the sky, and the ability to keep going in the face of adversity. Such changes help us reconnect with ourselves, and over time help us maintain complete wellness in both body and mind. And that is simply a great way to be.
Lisa Lee, Lic.Ac. PhD, is a fully qualified Five Element acupuncturist based in Edinburgh. She treats at her clinic patients looking for help with a wide range of health and wellbeing issues and has specialist interests in anxiety, gut health, fertility and cancer support. www.lisaleeacu.com – twitter: @lisaleeacu – Instagram: lisaleeacu