So I try and do all the things we mom’s are supposed to do for ourselves – wash my face at night, brush my teeth twice a day, exercise (or at least try to), BREATHE – and yes, they all help me feel healthy and less anxious (well, at least sometimes). You’ve read some of my other posts about anxiety, which is something I still struggle with – but there is one thing I do for myself that helps with my anxiety way beyond anything else I do, and I thought I’d share my secret with you!
This may not be for everyone, but I’ve advocated for this for years, and it’s helped me tremendously – through pregnancies, nursing, depression, everyday life – and while this is neither cheap nor easy, it’s become such a necessary investment in my overall health and wellbeing that I wanted to share with all of you.
Have I got the suspense level up enough?? Ok, here it is – ACUPUNCTURE!
Ok, I know exactly what you’re thinking – OMG that’s painful! While it does take some getting used to, the last thing I would ever call acupuncture is painful. In fact, the word I usually use to describe it is pleasant. You hardly (if at all) feel the tiny needle enter your skin, but once it does, I can’t even describe how wonderful it feels. Below are the main reasons why I love acupuncture so much.
1. It’s All Natural
I am big proponent of natural remedies – I try really hard not to take lots of medications myself or give my kids medication unless we absolutely need it. This is true for things from common colds all the way to dealing with depression and anxiety. I tried prescription medication for my depression and anxiety, and perhaps because I have a more sensitive system than most, it did not agree with me at all. But after just the first two acupuncture treatments I had, my mind was clearer, my body was less tense, my mood was lighter and I was in an overall happier place. Best of all, there are no side or after effects – just the benefit of feeling better, healthier and more balanced.
2. It’s Actually Amazing
So I won’t lie – the first time I went to an acupuncturist, I was scared. I have the lowest threshold for pain of anyone I know – I cry when I get paper cuts! But I was having horrible nausea at the time with my first pregnancy, a friend had recommended acupuncture, and so I thought “What the heck, it’s just a little pin prick”. And it wasn’t even that – I barely felt any of the little needles go in, but what I did feel was the most amazing feeling wash over me. The only way I can put it is that I felt…well…high. My acupuncturist put three needles in my head spaced out about 3-4 inches each, and by the time she put the third one in, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t even think, all I wanted to do was close my eyes and lay there. And that’s exactly what she let me do – she let me lay and “cook” while the needles did their magic. I can’t even tell you how amazing it felt to have the needles removed as well – it felt like chills running up and down my body – it was absolutely amazing.
3. It Helps with So Much
Like I mentioned, I’ve been to acupuncturists for years to help with ailments such as nausea, back pain, allergies, anxiety, even ear pain! There is a preconceived notion that acupuncture is only helpful when you get hurt physically and need therapy, but it in fact is for so much beyond physical pain. It’s amazing how interconnected our body is, that by placing a needle in my ear, it actually helped my growing baby. Or by placing a needle in my ankle, it helped stave off anxiety. In one of my treatments during pregnancy, I had 26 needles in my body (which is definitely a lot for me!) but afterwards, my sinuses weren’t as stuffed up, my sciatica had calmed down, my nausea had subsided and my lower back pain was nearly gone! I remember thinking, as I was leaving that treatment, that I would have had to go get a massage, take an antihistamine and take ibuprofen, and I still wouldn’t have felt so good! (Not to mention, I couldn’t do two out of those three things during pregnancy!)
4. Its Safe for Kids, Too!
Now I know what you’re thinking – no, I’ve never had acupuncture needles stuck in my kids! But acupressure, a less invasive version of acupuncture using pressure points and vibration, has the same healing qualities and is safe for kids too! I’ve taken both my boys (now 6 and 3) since they were 6 weeks old to have acupressure done, and it’s helped with things such as colic, gas, reflux and allergies. Here is a picture of an awesome acupuncturist in the city, Jennifer Whiteside, doing acupressure on my then 9 month old.
I want my kids to learn the value of taking care of themselves from a very tiny age, and getting them used to all kinds of treatments is one way I’ve helped my boys live healthier lives.
5. It’s an Investment in your Health
Of course, the big question is – how expensive is it?! Since most insurance companies don’t view acupuncture as a necessary medical procedure, it is often not covered, however I have seen it as a necessary investment in my health. I pay less than $100 per visit, and I go once per month. Right now, I see Dr. Maureen Tighe of Trillium Natural Medicine in Dormont, PA, who is an incredible advocate for natural medicine and is an expert in women’s health. In my mind, going to see her once a month is better than spending that $100 on sleeping pills, coffee, pain medication, back wraps or anything else I’d be putting in my body to help restore balance. And more so, acupuncture has long term effects – acupuncture is known to have effects well beyond your appointment and can help restore overall balance and harmony in your body.
Dr. Tighe is an advocate for women’s health, and we often discuss ways for me to be more aware of my body’s reactions to stressful situations. Just being able to speak with her once a month helps me feel more restored, more balanced, and more ready to take on all of life’s challenges.
If you are interested in learning more, or starting acupuncture, Dr. Tighe is running a special promotion for Pittsburgh Moms Blog Readers! Dr. Maureen Tighe can be reached at 412-571-9355 or through her website – http://www.trilliumnatural.com/. Hope you love it as much as me!