This weekend, the clocks go back. It's a time of the year when our minds turn to darker nights, turning on the heating and getting out the winter woollies. The transition from the lighter evenings and warmth of summer, to the short days and cold temperatures of winter can leave many people feeling tired and run down and can lead to us being more vulnerable to picking up colds and viruses.
It is no secret that the key to good health is a strong and fully functioning immune system, so it's important to prepare your defences for the cold and flu season in order to stay healthy throughout the winter months.
One of the ways in which we can take charge of our health and gain an understanding of the signs within us of health and illness is to have on-going traditional acupuncture treatments, but in particular, treatments at or near the change of season. This works much in the same way as getting your car serviced in that it helps the body to it run efficiently and prevents serious problems occurring.
Acupuncture seeks to address imbalances in the body's Qi or vital energy. It also has an underlying principle a holistic approach to health that acknowledges the seasons of the year and the importance of living in tune with them to balance our health, both in body and in mind.
With over 200 common cold viruses and three types of flu virus, it's hard to avoid catching a bug. On average, adults in the UK catch two to four colds a year forming a major part of the 172 million days lost each year to sickness, costing the economy over £13 billion*.
A seasonal session with an acupuncturist can help improve overall health by enhancing the body's immune system to keep illness at bay. It can also provide a boost in energy levels, lifting mood and improving a person's sense of wellbeing, allowing the body to function more effectively
In addition, during treatment the acupuncturist will discuss ways of getting through various things to be aware of depending on the specific season: for example with the 'winter season treatment or tune up', this could include the suggestion to eat warming foods and the need to keep warm and conserve energy in winter months, and not to rush to start new projects.
Acupuncture aims to improve overall wellbeing by identifying and treating the root cause of any problem, rather than specific symptoms. Addressing imbalances in the body will help return Qi to an optimum level, improving overall wellbeing of the mind and body and preventing further illness.
In an acupuncture treatment the practitioner will apply a number of different diagnostic processes to gain a picture of the health of your body as manifested by the quality and quantity of Qi, the body's motivating energy. Any imbalances are addressed by inserting ultra fine needles into specific points in the body to restore the balance of Qi.
Treatments are tailored to an individual so will vary from person to person. If you have not had acupuncture before, the acupuncturist will apply a number of different diagnostic processes to get a better picture of your overall health. This includes taking a full medical history, reading your pulses or looking at your tongue.
From this, the practitioner will be able to form a diagnosis and treat the source of any underlying problems. By inserting fine needles into the channels of Qi energy an acupuncturist can clear any blockages that are impeding the flow of energy, stimulate the body's own healing response and help restore its natural equilibrium.
To find a practitioner in your area call the British Acupuncture Council on 020 8735 0400 or visit www.acupuncture.org.uk
*CBI Absence & Labour turnover
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