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How acupuncture can conquer your holiday stress

Karen Hawthorne is a health and lifestyle writer and producer in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Glow, Homemakers, BestHealthMag.ca and the National Post.

Make a point to get acupuncture

Poking your skin with needles may not sound like a soothing treatment, but the ancient Chinese therapy of acupuncture is reputed to help you keep calm and carry on — perfect for the holiday season ahead!
Stress relief through acupuncture
Woman getting accupuncture

SheKnows spoke to acupuncturist Sabine Gebelhoff of Moonstone Healing Arts & Yoga in Newtonville, Ontario about how the therapy works and its stress-busting results.

SheKnows: What is acupuncture all about?

Sabine Gebelhoff: Traditional acupuncture is a complete and elegant therapy to enhance your own body's healing system. It helps to eliminate fatigue and disease from the body at the root causes, instead of using "Band-Aids" to cover and mask symptoms. We use the meridian system, the body’s energy pathways, to enhance our natural energies to strengthen our bodies, calm our mind and lift our spirits.

SheKnows: Do the needles hurt? They are fine, almost thread-like.

Sabine Gebelhoff: In the hands of an experienced practitioner, the needles and insertions are barely noticeable. Sometimes a particular energy point may be very congested and you will feel a slight energy shift (or "zing") as the needle enters. If there is any discomfort, the practitioner can adjust the needles.

SheKnows: How is acupuncture more effective than acupressure, where a therapist manipulates pressure points on the body?

Sabine Gebelhoff: Acupuncture works on a deep healing level, not unlike acupressure, but below the skin. We have direct access to nerves, muscles, joints and ligaments, depending on what our target is. Also, by working below the dermis [skin], we activate the neural pathways and nervous system, so those feel-good endorphins release quite quickly.

SheKnows: Why do our bodies not self-heal as well as they should?

Sabine Gebelhoff: Our bodies are under constant strain from environmental challenges, toxins, stress, lack of sleep. All of these factors can inhibit our your body's ability to recharge and rebalance, and therefore heal itself. Traditional acupuncture can assess and treat the root causes of illnesses.

SheKnows: How can acupuncture counteract our holiday anxiety?

Sabine Gebelhoff: Regular treatments — every three to five weeks — are very helpful in keeping your body's natural energies balanced. At times of high stress, extra demands are put on our minds and bodies. Seek out gentle treatments during these high-stress times. We often seek treatment in response to pain or acute symptoms, but it’s easier to gently bring yourself to healing and center before serious symptoms occur. Most clients report improved mood and sleep after just one treatment.

SheKnows: Is there an anecdote from a patient you could share?

Sabine Gebelhoff: I have a lovely client whom I met earlier this year. She was under a lot of work and family stress, and was having a difficult time balancing all her responsibilities. As a result, she was suffering from insomnia, weeping spells, fatigue, body aches and pains, weight gain. We started treatment once weekly, with some suggested changes to her diet, along with yoga and meditation techniques. Within three months, she has reduced her treatments to once a month, and all of her symptoms have cleared or alleviated. I've had some of her friends comment to me how happy they are to see her back to her old self.

More on acupuncture

Acupuncture: Needles don’t hurt after all
Cosmetic acupuncture for younger skin
What you need to know about holistic health care

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