Are You on a Slow Simmer?

There’s an old metaphor about a frog in boiling water. If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, he will immediately jump out because of the sudden, drastic change in temperature. If, however, you put a frog in a pot of tepid water and slowly bring it to a boil, the temperature change will be so subtle that the frog will never know what hit him as he boils to death.

Frog simmering

People are very similar to the frog when it comes to identifying underlying health problems and seeking help. Based on the perceived severity of the problem, you are either driven to action, or more prone to let the problem continue as a mere annoyance.

Those who have suffered a major trauma such as an auto accident, work injury, or slip and fall are like a frog dropped in boiling water. Because they have undergone such sudden and massive physical change they seek immediate action in correcting the damage done and look to professional help without delay. Bear in mind that these are the same people who would normally overlook more minor aches and pains without a second thought.

Why does one act so quickly in a situation like this? The injury happens so suddenly and swings them so far from their comfort zone that they will do whatever it takes to bring things back to normalcy as quickly as possible. After all, a knock in your engine is something that you would typically let go for awhile, but a sudden cloud of smoke billowing from under the hood would likely spur you to immediate action.

The majority of people, however, are like a frog in tepid water, on a slow simmer until eventually being brought to a boil. Most imbalances develop over time, and because they are often very subtle, and many times painless, the danger of their impact on our bodies goes unnoticed.

Over time, however, these imbalances are no less devastating to us than boiling water is to the frog. A slow drip in your attic might not seem like a big deal, but its cumulative effects can eventually send your ceiling crashing down.

Until we get into the habit of being proactive when it comes to our health, these “simmering” imbalances will always be a threat. Neutralizing that threat requires that we shift our thinking away from pain-based, symptom-relief care and more toward a system built around prevention and wellness.

If you know someone who has not been examined for imbalances yet, regardless of whether or not they are exhibiting any symptoms, send them in for a acupuncture evaluation. Let’s get them the help they need before their pot comes to a boil!

 
now

I Know What I Want and I Want It Now!

Just a small trip back to the early 90’s.  As silly as it seems, not much has changed.  Well, maybe the background music but definitely not the sentiment.

We live in a society that wants everything now.  The faster, the better.  We want things yesterday, not in ten minutes.  This includes our food, our entertainment, and even our healing.

We want to be better now!  We want to take a pill, have it all go away (whatever our IT is), and go on with our lives.  Period.

Acupuncture and herbs don’t work that way.  (Sorry to bust your bubbles.)

This is (unfortunately) a scenario that sometimes happens here at the clinic:

People come, wanting to try acupuncture.  They are excited, it is something new; (or maybe they are nervous because it is something new.)  They exclaim they have tried everything else and nothing has worked.  Acupuncture is their last hope.  They are hedging all of their bets on this.

And then it happens: three, five, seven treatments and their “issues” have not resolved yet.  Or maybe there is change but other things are changing, not the issue they came for.

There is frustration, disappointment.  

They ask “How long will this take?  When can I stop coming?”

We encourage; we know it can be a long process.

They are disillusioned, don’t understand; they want it “now”. 

They quit coming, they don’t show up for an appointment, they quit taking their herbs.  They jump to another treatment strategy that is going to be “the one.”  This time something will work, and fast.  It is the best new thing.

now 

You can’t blame them, we all want instant fixes.  We live in a society that tells us this is justified, no matter what the topic.  We don’t have staying power or follow-through when it gets hard because we are told we don’t need it. 

People expect Oriental Medicine to work like Western medicine.  And it doesn’t.  Oriental Medicine is a whole body approach rather than isolating a symptom or an issue.  While Western medicine narrows down, Oriental Medicine broadens.  Neither are better or worse, they just work differently; you can’t apply the rules of one to the practice of the other.  

It is important to have a clear idea of what to expect when deciding to begin a course of treatment.  Rome was not built in a day and the issue you are seeking help for did not materialize over night.  

This can be deceiving; it may look like a symptom suddenly broke out but what were the energetic factors and conditions that contributed to it being able to appear at all?  How long were these present?  How long has the qi been stagnant and not circulating?  This is the place that Oriental Medicine attempts to address.

This means that results are gradual.  Acute conditions may have relief in a couple of months; chronic conditions may take years.  The process is gentle, energetic, and transformative; and not instant.  

The process involves taking a look at what habits you have that contribute to the condition and changing them; which can mean lots of self-examination.  It also means sticking through when it gets hard.  As with any transformation, you have to stay long enough to see the magic; and there is always that dark moment where we are asked if we want to turn back or if we want to keep going.

The beautiful thing about Oriental Medicine is it focuses on body balancing; simultaneously you are affecting areas and issues you weren’t even working on.  It is fun to see patients who come in for a session saying something that plagued them for years is suddenly gone, something they did not even think was worth mentioning in the intake; something the practitioner did not even know about.  

For those who are patient and have staying power, amazing things can happen.  You just have to hang in there, keep putting one foot in front of the other.

And the thing is, when you keep going, eventually does turn into now.

Detox Your Mind

detox your mind

Whether you realize it or not, one of the most powerful forces in your life is your self-image. A positive, healthy self-image can carry you to heights you’ve never imagined, while a negative self-image will pin you down like a lead weight.

To a large degree your self-image is influenced by the pictures and messages you continually feed into your mind. Positive, uplifting messages help to foster a healthy self image, while stories of doom and despair are sure to bring you down.

Your mind, just like your body, is conditioned by the pattern of your daily habits. If you get into the routine of exercising every day and putting wholesome nutritious food into your body, it is inevitable that your level of health will improve. By the same token, feasting on donuts and soda everyday while taking up permanent residence on the couch is like punching your ticket on the express train out of here.

By treating our minds like our bodies, that is feeding them what makes them healthier and exercising them the right way, we can make a complete shift in our mental make-up.

Detoxing your mind takes practice and discipline, but the payoff is invaluable. The eventual goal should be to always ooze positivity, but start by challenging yourself with a few days to a week of elevating your attitude and build from there. Journal your progress and take note of the changes that you see in yourself and in those around you.

Start by replacing the “junk food” that you force feed into your head with outrageously nutritious material. Focus on feeding nothing but positive, motivating things into your mind. This goes for what you watch, read, listen to, and most importantly, what you think.

Replace the dread and corruption reported on the evening news with a motivational reading, spiritual study, or uplifting music. Break away from gossip and get into the habit of passing out compliments.

If negative thoughts about yourself or someone else enter your mind (and they will) work on eliminating them or putting a positive spin on them. For example, instead of complaining that your water bill is too high, come up with creative ways to lower it or simply be thankful that you have running water at the turn of a knob.

You draw into your life those things that you consistently focus your time and energy on. Become a magnet for happiness and prosperity by continually thinking happy, prosperous thoughts.