“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and author of many volumes on applying Buddhist philosophies to life. It also illuminates one of the key features of acupuncture that I think people who haven't experienced it often don't think about - that one of the most important parts of an acupuncture treatment is just resting on the table and letting the needles do their work.
Its rare that we take time out to just "be" and dwell in the present moment like the little mantra above suggests. Acupuncture treatment forces us to take that time, because for the 20 minutes you are on the table there is nothing you can do but breathe deep and be present.
Breathing deep and being present can calm the autonomic nervous system - like the woman in this Wall Street Journal video mentions - and acupuncture enhances that effect to calm the heart rate and respiration as well as your stress and anxiety. This makes acupuncture an excellent tool for stress relief.
So if you're looking for a good de-stresser before the holidays, think about getting in for treatment sooner rather than later and even if you can't make it in for treatment, I hope you like the quote above and think about using it as a meditation mantra the next time you get a few quiet moments to just be!
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.