Warming treatments in chilling times
In my acupuncture practice, this is the time of year when patients come in with “afflictions from cold.” Chinese medicine teaches us that external influences which are manifested by cold or wet weather can enter into the body and cause illness.
Chills, coughs, fevers and general malaise can arise when our bodies are not strong enough to ward off the influences of the cold or rainy weather.
Many acupuncturists perform treatments at this time of year that include moxibustion, which is the warming of the acupuncture needles with an herb called artemesia, or mugwort.
The herb is rolled into cigar-shaped sticks, lit at one end by the acupuncturist, and held over the acupuncture points selected for treatment until the points feel warm and the patient experiences a soothing heat entering into his or her acupuncture channels. The points selected are individual to the patient, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of his or her body.
For example, if you are commonly affected by coughs and bronchitis, there is a likely possibility that your lung energy becomes depleted at this time of year and could use a boost from acupuncture and moxibustion therapy.
Perhaps you tend to get sick with intestinal symptoms or stomach pain; then it is likely your “central chi'” or digestive function, would be addressed with acupuncture and moxibustion therapy.
There is often an emotional component to illness. On a simple level, we know that when we “go-go-go” without resting or taking any time for ourselves, we are more likely to get sick. Then when we are sick, we don’t need an excuse to stop – we simply must because we are too sick to continue!
What would it be like to slow down and listen to our bodies? Even five minutes a day of quiet attention and asking our bodies’ “What would you like from me today?” can yield potent results that would have a profound influence on our health. In the cold weather, self-reflection and quiet attention are considered “warming treatments” because they allow our body energy to rekindle within ourselves.
Another warming treatment we can all practice in our lives involves the expression of generosity. Nurturing the heart and the hearts of others increases the warmth in our lives and promotes health. How can you increase the warmth in your life through the practice of generosity?
Perhaps volunteering at a local convalescent hospital, sharing ourselves with someone who is old and could use our help, cooking a meal for someone, sharing a cup of tea, donating money to a worthy cause … there are so many ways to extend our love into the community.
I perceive that my role as a healer is to help a person recover his or her health and the ability to nurture the self and others. When I administer warming acupuncture and moxibustion treatments, I bear witness to Chinese medicine strengthening my patients. I also bear witness to their increased ability to express generosity and love.
We can all provide warming treatments in chilling times. Whether through acupuncture and moxibustion therapy, a cooked meal for our families, or through deep listening and generosity to others, we all have many gifts to offer.
Be grateful. Be happy. Be well.
Cynthia Yaguda is a licensed acupuncturist with a doctorate degree in Oriental medicine with a private practice in Grass Valley. Contact her at 272-8935.
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