Close-up Of Bare Feet2013 will see us leave the Year of the Dragon, and enter the Year of the Snake. That transition will take place on Chinese New Year, February 10th.

I read on a website that the snake prefers “a life of calmness, preferring quietness over noise and a manageable workload rather than a schedule thats overly-booked. Snakes become easily stressed when their lives aren’t peaceful or in order”.

We can all take heed from such advice, living as we do in the 21st century. Stress is a measure of how effectively we can adapt to shifts and changes in each passing day and a ‘stressor’ is something we are required to adapt to. It is essential for us to recognise stressors in their multitude of guises within everyday life, and to change or modify the things we can and manage or compensate for the effects of things we can’t.

This from The American institute of Stress: “It has been estimated that 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. Job stress is far and away the leading source of stress for adults but stress levels have also escalated in children, teenagers, college students and the elderly for other reasons, including: increased crime, violence and other threats to personal safety; pernicious peer pressures that lead to substance abuse and other unhealthy life style habits; social isolation and loneliness; the erosion of family and religious values and ties; the loss of other strong sources of social support that are powerful stress busters.

Contemporary stress tends to be more pervasive, persistent and insidious because it stems primarily from psychological than physical threats. It is associated with ingrained and immediate reactions over which we have no control…These and myriad other immediate and automatic responses have been exquisitely honed over the lengthy course of human evolution as life saving measures to facilitate primitive man’s ability to deal with physical challenges.However, the nature of stress for modern man is not an occasional confrontation with a saber-toothed tiger or a hostile warrior but rather a host of emotional threats like getting stuck in traffic and fights with customers, co-workers, or family members, that often occur several times a day. Unfortunately, our bodies still react with these same, archaic fight or flight responses that are now not only not useful but potentially damaging and deadly. Repeatedly invoked, it is not hard to see how they can contribute to hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, ulcers, neck or low back pain and other diseases…”.

Don’t let many moons pass without a treatment

Acupuncture, being an essential component of the overalll approach of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), can be readily utilised in our efforts to assuage the effects of stress on our bodies and minds. The effects of daily stress seem to me – being as i am now in my mid fifties – more noticeable as we age. To counter the erosive quality of stress we need to establish some kind of preventative, proactive regime which can keep a finger on the pulse of change. Most of my clients are benefitting from the ‘monthly maintenance tune up treatment’. Being a monthly event it enables the practitioner to be aware of any counter-productive dietary habits and to stay on top of accumulative muscular tensions, aches and pains in the body. Massage is a key ancillary treatment modality in this regard and a powerfully acting promoter of deep relaxation; a fitting complement to acupuncture therapy.

The monthly treatment session can be a great boon to women, given that it enables their practitioner to observe the premenstrual phase and to rectify symptoms manifesting therein and to note cycle irregularities and patterns, which can then be regulated. Its a complicated world inside our hormonal (endocrine) system and dealing with its fluctuations requires constant observation, given that it too is acted upon by various stimuli from both inner and outer environments.

A lot of life occurs within the period of one month, if you take into account all parameters: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, family, relationship and our many interactions out there in the world, especially the workplace where we spend such a large part of our lives. It makes sense to take one hour out of each month to take stock, to relax, to be reminded how to stay centred and to recalibrate our personal priorities. We are becoming more and more aware of the benefits to be gained from the approach to life, long espoused by the ancient Chinese scholars and physicians. Here are two links to
some contemporary insights: