Before it was trendy to do so, I went gluten free in 2003. I recall having immediate results - my head and gut aches practically vanished, and my body was simply happier. Even as a self-prescribed bread addict, I thought it wasn’t terrible to give up bread and wheat. Call me young and naïve, but I even wondered, what else could I do to my body to heal it? I’m no biohacker like today’s Ben Greenfields or Dave Aspreys, but I dabbled.
Detoxes, fasts, blood tests, weight training (pre CrossFit days) or cardio - I tried it. Honestly, not a lot of profound results, but I learned about myself and my body as I chased the ideal of healing limiting beliefs, aches and pains.
So in 2007, when I continued to explore other alternative health options for my ailments, Laura, my yoga teacher recommended I come in to see her for acupuncture.
I trusted her so I went.
Otherwise it would have been a big hell no. Me and needles, um, no thanks!
But again, when you’re in your twenties, childless, and apparently don’t have much else to do on a weekend, the hour or two spent with needles in your limbs is quite the adventure.
We chatted, she looked at my tongue, took my pulse, and with quick precision placed the needles. I barely felt them, and even napped.
Acupuncture was nothing what I expected.
Not only was I pleasantly surprised at how relaxed I was, I was more impressed by having the best night of sleep that evening. Needless to say, I returned.
In my next appointment, after addressing my issues with the needles, Laura asked me if I had ever done cupping.
I’m sorry, what?
When you’re exposed, lying on a table, and people ask you vague questions, it can be a little intimidating.
I got the run down and was game. At this point in my life I was at the gym every day, addicted to running, sitting behind a computer for 8+ hours, and needed whatever she offered.
But back to cupping. Even if you’ve been debriefed and mentally prepared, it’s hard to know what to expect with that first experience with the cup. While there is more pain associated with cupping than acupuncture, it’s a good kind of pain. It truly hurts so good. You feel me?
Where acupuncture gently realigns our energy, reminding our body how to heal on its own, cupping provides pressure, encouraging blood flow, breaking up any stagnation to the area applied.
All in all, cupping was different, somewhat magical, and since it leaves painless bruises, it was an easy conversation starter at the gym the next day.
But, life happened, as it does, and I didn’t see much of yoga, acupuncture or cupping for some time. That was until I got pregnant and had other aches and pains I wanted to address naturally.
But as you can imagine, once my babies came, I again pushed my healing to the side.
Sure, I made time for things I love, like a good meal with dear friends, moving my body regularly, and a good living room dance party with my littles. But what I love about acupuncture and cupping, aside from the healing, is the personal nature of the time spent with the practitioner. This is not your typical run of the mill 10 min, box checking, interaction with your GP or therapist. Acupuncturists take their time to get to know you. They have to!
Part therapist, part healer, part teacher, acupuncturists are there to help, and spend their time to do so.
Though I often find myself a little lost when my daughters go with their dad on his weekends, it’s not hard to hide my excitement for the quiet and the ability to retreat to activities that speak to my soul and offer healing. My most recent visit with Candise provided just that. Once we got past the formalities and updates from the last month, Candise quickly had me in tears. Happy tears, tears of frustration, tears of freedom! When was the last time you were in someone’s presence and you could let your guard down and let everything flow? No judgment, only pure empathy, concern, and care.
Like a friend who has seen you through thick and thin, and still chooses to offer a hand, Candise has that touch. That is in addition to her touch with needles, ear seeds, and cupping.
Where are you on your journey of health and balance?
Have you hit the wall and realize it’s been far too long since you did more than the usual to take care of yourself? As career women, as moms, we do what we can, when we can. Manis, pedis, a spa day, a glass of wine, here and there.
But does it add up to the balance you need? Does it address the root issues or only numb the dissonance between your desires and your reality?
It’s a lot to address right now, I understand. But do take the time to ask yourself these questions. What’s missing? What are you ignoring? What could you say “no” to, to be able to say “yes” to feeling your best?
Let’s return to the first issue I brought up – I quit gluten, which led to an interest of healing all of me. Even knowing, despite wishing otherwise, it wouldn't be a quick fix. But why wait? There are no perfect moments to start anything!
Do you have the confidence to search for and find balance? Are you bold enough to take control of your health - whether that is ditching the foods you know don’t love you back, or creating the time to exercise, or finding a coach to help you strategically make sense of it all, or making a monthly appointment for acupuncture?
All are good, all can be necessary, but what makes you feel your best?
I think we can agree, we all yearn to be heard, understood, liked, loved, and to belong. It begins with knowing who you are and being willing to write a different ending for ourselves.
I know I want to thrive, and I’m sure you do also.
For lack of better words, for the most bang for your buck, or when all else fails, start your journey of health in all of it’s imperfection….and get yourself an acupuncturist (or a health coach, like me!).
Comment below with where you are on your health journey or if you love acupuncture.
I’d also love to know what would serve you best as you navigate the balance between work, health, kids, and life.