My father is Italian, born and raised on a beautiful farm in the south of Italy. As a child we would travel there annually to visit with my extended family. As an American girl I was uncomfortable with the lifestyle in Italy and can recall it feeling dirty. I was especially afraid to eat some of the food. It was so different than what we ate in America. Our food looked perfect and came in sterile packages. In Italy it had bug bites and all parts of the animals were served as food or utilized in some aspect of life such as the fat of pigs being used as soap. As I grew older, I realized that it was the American lifestyle as I knew it that was dirty and the Italian agricultural lifestyle was pure. Eastern medicine shares many of the values that my Italian family practiced. Unfortunately, many of those values are being lost globally today and humanity is experiencing the affects. Below I have outlined some reasonable measures we can take to integrate practices and values that promote community, health, spirituality, a sense of peace, and, above all love.
- Pray or meditate! If you do not have a belief in a God then pray to force of life itself. Eastern medicine prioritizes spirituality as a key to vibrant health. Recognizing that we are not in charge reduces pressure and stress. Connecting with the pure energy of life allows us to trust and be guided in our lives. The belief that we are in control of every aspect of our lives increases stress and locks us into the frustration-inducing perspective that we can control every outcome. Taking responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, and actions allows the space to be still enough for intuition to guide us. Fortunately, technology has provided us the gift of having amazing meditation and spiritual teachers at our finger tips. Pick one you connect with and start there. Practice and over time you will dig deeper into the well of knowledge available to you.
- Nourish yourself through food! Eating is meant for nourishment, but for many of us it has become another job. We resent cooking or outsource it to restaurants, grocery stores, or food service companies. Changing your perspective will make cooking an enriching and life affirming process. Start with eating foods from the current season, learn about therapeutic affects of your foods and integrate what you learn into your favorite recipes to assist in healing. For instance eating chicken soup when you’re sick, adding fennel root to aid in digestion, integrate warm foods in the winter and cooling foods in the summer will make a difference in how you feel. Making cooking a social event by integrating family and friends can further enrich the experience. This may not be feasible for all the time, but making an effort to have this experience once a week and during the holidays can greatly enhance your life.
- Move! Movement is important. It helps to circulate your energy and prevent physical and emotional feelings of stagnation. In Eastern medicine stagnation is the start of the disease process. When we have stagnant energy, our thoughts, feelings, and experiences become a reflection of that stagnation, stress increases and inflammation follows. Find any activity you enjoy and do it regularly. If you are unable to move stuck energy acupuncture can help do it for you.
Nature! Connect with nature. Breathing fresh air and enjoying the beauty of the natural world is a great way to increase your vitality and see that the best things in life really are free. Hiking, going to the beach, a walk in the park, a picnic in a meadow are great ways of being in nature. Find places in the area you live to enjoy by yourself or with a loved one.
- Herbs! Herbal therapy is a big part of Eastern medicine. Pharmaceutics are relatively new to the human body, whereas the use of herbs as medicine has existed for thousands of years. Herbal formulas are created to be balanced so that no one herb affects any part of the body too strongly. We also use the whole part of a plant as opposed to extracting only the potent ingredient for the same reason. Work with a qualified herbalist to learn which herbs and herbal combinations can support you and help you source high quality ingredients that have been tested for heavy metals and are free from harmful contaminants.Written by Maria Villella – To book your next acupuncture appointment, call (424) 744-8366.