Let's talk about our nervous systems!
When we experience stress, physical or emotional "danger", our sympathetic nervous system activates our Fight or Flight Mode, and then once the perceived danger has passed, our parasympathetic nervous system activates to tells us it's time to rest and digest.
This was an extremely beneficial system for our ancestors who faced physical danger in their day to day lives, but for many people in today's society, it's hard for our nervous systems to get out of the sympathetic nervous system mode. Many of the "stresses" of our daily lives are not truly dangers to us, and we need to support our bodies getting out of the Fight or Flight mode and back into the parasympathetic mode that promotes healing and restoration in our bodies.
Both Acupuncture and Meditation act to calm down your sympathetic nervous system!
Mindfulness Meditation is a common practice to help relax the mind and body, and acupuncture stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system in a similar way that meditation does. If mindfulness mediation is the practice of disengaging with the stressors of our mind, you can think of acupuncture as a supportive way to disengage with the stressors of the body. Because Chinese Medicine views the mind, body, and spirit as a whole, the two practices together can be highly effective in overall stress reduction.
If you are interested in meditation or have a personal meditation practice We recommend trying some basic Meditation techniques during the resting time of your acupuncture appointment! Some of these may be: body scanning, focused attention (like in vipassana), steady or controlled breathing, being mindful of wandering thoughts and emotions, or visualization, etc.
You just may feel a deeper sense of connection to body, mind and spirit during your treatment and after.
Here are some simple tips from mindfulness.org for how to get started with meditation:
Take a seat- Find place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
Set a time limit- If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes.
Notice your body- You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.
Feel your breath- Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.
Notice when your mind has wandered- Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath.
Be kind to your wandering mind- Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.
Close with kindness- When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.