Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is devoted to helping people to create and maintain balance, homeostasis, and emotional and physical harmony. Our lives need and thrive on balance. Balance between work and home, family and friends, activity and rest, with healthy food and “comfort” food - everything in moderation. In terms of the body, this is called homeostasis - the tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes. Traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture calls it the equilibrium of Yin and Yang. Disease occurs with a disturbance of our body's natural regulation of homeostasis. When faced with external stressors, our bodies work harder to maintain homeostasis, and sometimes when that balance is affected, we feel frustrated, overwhelmed, panicked, and even sick. I always tell my patients that acupuncture can help you cope with stress, but it cannot take the stressors out of your life. Regular acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbal medicine will stimulate the body to maintain physical and emotional homeostasis, but let's face it - we are all human and sometimes the demands of life shift us out of balance, even when we do everything we can to prevent it. As an acupuncturist and mom (and perfectionist), I sometimes struggle with finding a balance between taking care of others, and taking care of myself. It's hard for me to admit this, but I think this struggle is common in our society, especially with working moms, and knowing you are not alone in this struggle is reassuring. The demands of the family and work, and the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, can become overwhelming, and often stress can sneak up on you. It is in these times that I am thankful for being an acupuncturist, and I wanted to share what I like to call my "stress survival" acupuncture point for those times that stress completely overcomes you. That acupuncture point is Kidney 1.
Kidney 1 or “Gushing Spring” is located on the sole of the foot, in a slight depression created when the foot is pointed downward, about 1/3 of the distance between the tips of the toes and the heel. It is the lowest acupuncture point on the body and the entry point of Qi or vital energy into the Kidney meridian. It is a wonderful point that can drain excess energy from the upper part of the body, especially the head and mind. In simpler terms, it helps to make you feel grounded. When there is excess energy in the upper part of the body, it can cause symptoms such as anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and even panic attacks. Because kidney 1 has such a strong downward moving action, it can relieve these symptoms very quickly. Because it is so easily accessible, it is a great point to learn and use to treat yourself for emergency stress situations. For example, I've had two panic attacks in my life. The first was 4 1/2 years ago after a friend had died. I was driving, and started to hyperventilate. My vision got blurry, my heart was racing, and I was scared I wouldn't be able to pull over in time. It took me an hour to calm down and be able to continue driving. My last panic attack was two weeks ago.
Same symptoms, in the car again, but this time, I pulled over and stimulated Kidney 1 with a handheld microcurrent device for acupuncture points. Instantly, my heart rate slowed, my breathing regulated, and within less than 10 minutes, the panic attack had passed and I felt calm. I share this story because I want to show how powerful acupuncture can be, but also because, as an acupuncturist, I too am always working to maintain balance, and in those times that stress overwhelms me, I turn to acupuncture for help. At the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey in Morristown we treat many patients with conditions that benefit from the use of Kidney 1, including stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and panic attacks. Additionally, if you have these symptoms, we can teach you how to massage Kidney 1 at home on yourself or others in need of calming restoration.