The ‘Zen Ten’ That Acupuncture Has Taught Me

By Alex Lochhead - Five Element Acupuncturist -

zen ten

Having acknowledged in previous blogs that acupuncture is far more than just the action of needles being inserted into bodies, here is my ‘all time Zen Ten’ tips for better health and wellbeing.  Some are honed from ancient Chinese medicinal theory, some are clearly not!  All of these tips have been tried and tested by myself, family, friends and patients alike, over the past decade since acupuncture first entered my world.

So, sit back and let’s see what you think:

1 ) What to do when seeking out a practitioner or therapist?

Pick up the phone and speak to them first.  The rapport you build with your practitioner is essential to the effectiveness of your treatment.  Five Element, Traditional and Classical Acupuncturists are extensively trained in rapport building to suit the exact needs of their patients.  This first involves them learning to zip it and listen.  I know folks who travel large distances to get treatment, recognising the need for great rapport.  Please don’t choose them because they have easy parking.  Make that call and get a feeling for their style first.  Listen out for recommendations.  Shop around.

2) Look after your bowels and they will look after you! 

Try a tablespoon of chia seed a day, in yoghurt or salads or porridge or smoothies.  This little seed can very quickly deliver bowel utopia if you have a struggle down there.  It comes in black or white seed varieties, which make no difference at all.  High in protein and omega fats, this little wonder can be bought online in kilo packs for less than its’ supermarket 100g counterparts.

3) Upgrade your existing diet, don’t try and achieve perfection

Switching up your food choices is easy and pretty much stress free.  It doesn’t involve huge cost and is sustainable in terms of your continued commitment.   For example:

  • Trade White spuds and try sweet potato, butternut squash or an extra portion of root veg, (swede, parsnip, turnip, carrot),
  • Try eating raw nuts & seeds instead of biscuits,
  • Drink less builders tea and include Green Tea instead,
  • Eat Dark chocolate instead of candy chocolate.

For me, this is the easiest was to manage my diet without it becoming a great chore.

 4) Use the 70% rule.

Taoist physical practices such as Qi Gung and Tai Chi always advise you to work your body to 70% of its capacity to protect it.  This prevents unnecessary strain, injury or pain.  The ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy is frowned upon here.  Why not extend the 70% rule to other areas of your life to conserve your emotional or mental energy?

5) Soft eyes! 

Making time for other people, even when you are rushed or stressed is important.  A mantra that I regularly use when I can feel the tension rising is ‘soft eyes’.  This means looking on others with compassion, patience and respect.  Sometimes we forget to do this.  I find that repeating this mantra helps me reduce stress and irritation levels which makes me a better person to be with and eases my own path.  Some people are going to wind you up.  This is normal.  Don’t let it impact on your wellbeing, defuse it!

6) Notice the seasons and what they hold for you.

Wherever you live, city, town or village there are changes taking place.  This connection with nature is soothing and reassuring, don’t forget to check in regularly with it.

7) When having treatments of any kind (including NHS), acupuncture or otherwise, ask questions. 

Your understanding of these procedures enables you to be proactive in your own healthcare.  I often hear that my patients have had a procedure and have no clue as to why.  Your health is your most valuable asset; own it, protect it and understand the role of others within it.

8) Seek balance.

Acupuncture is ultimately about seeking health through a balanced lifestyle.  This balanced approach varies for each of us depending on our situation and personal requirements.  For example, I need an afternoon nap to keep my energy up.  You might not.  Do the things that work for you to help you feel ‘in your zone’.  Pay attention to your feelings, emotions, body and energy levels and work to keep them within a comfortable range.  Of course there will be times when things go off the scale.  This will help you grow and learn, but make sure you check back in with yourself and review how it contributes to your overall balance.

9Get rest.  Mental, physical or spiritual.

There’s no explanation required here, make time for it.

10) Remember each new day is a fresh start. 

Moving on with life is essential if you are to get the most out of it.  Look for opportunities to grow, expand and enhance your experiences, relationships, career, hobbies and health.

To read more about Alex please click here.

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4 Comments on “The ‘Zen Ten’ That Acupuncture Has Taught Me”

  1. You couldn’t be more right – ask questions and don’t think any question is too small or annoying for a acupuncturist! Thanks for sharing!

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