To the Point – Acupuncture Therapy
Feeling frustrated, mentally fuzzy or unmotivated? Deb Caruso turns to an ancient remedy for help.
Despite my, not uncommon, dislike of needles, I have a strange love of acupuncture.
I guess that’s in line with the Ancient Chinese philosophy around balance – yin and yang and all that.
I’ve been having acupuncture since my early twenties and found it be one therapy that always delivers results – from crippling back pain to managing symptoms of endometriosis, coeliac disease and migraine.
Deadline-time unfortunately continues to come with late nights and elevated stress levels, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. While I feel like I couldn’t possibly spare an hour to have a treatment, I know that this is exactly what my body needs.
Besides, who doesn’t want to escape to the calming cocoon that is Kansha? It’s one of Noosa’s longest-standing businesses for a reason.
Opening in 2007 with the aim of providing authentic alternative therapies in a calm, peaceful environment, it’s hard to imagine just how many people this business has helped over the years.
I’m sure I enter the tranquil space like a category-one cyclone but within seconds I am calmed by the aromatic diffusers, bubbling water, peaceful music and complimentary Ayurvedic tea while I wait for my therapist, Dr Rahni Koturaj.
I’m in good hands as Rahni, in addition to her qualifications, practices a Chinese style of Acupuncture and specialises in pain management, digestive and immune disorders, and mental health. She uses modern scientific research coupled with classical teachings more than 2000 years old.
I let Rahni know that I am unsurprisingly feeling exhausted and mentally blocked. After a thorough assessment including questions about sleep patterns, aches and pains, digestion; Rahni undertakes a pulse palpation which is a key component to diagnosing imbalances.
There are twenty-eight different qualities of pulses that can be felt and each relates to the state of the internal energy and organ systems that allow our bodies to either thrive and function, or weaken and decline.
Another diagnostic tool in Chinese medicine is the colour of the tongue which can serve as an indicator of the internal temperature of the body and correlates with circulation from the liver and the heart.
Unsurprisingly, Rahni assesses that, I was stressed and my tongue indicated, I was in pain – well, it was more professional and in-depth than that but I was already starting to relax and simply place myself in her capable hands.
“The flame that burns twice as bright, burns half as long,” Rahni said as she identified the specific points I needed to be needled. I’m feeling so mentally challenged that I needed to think about her statement for a while. Clearly my flame is too bright!
Using the analogy that each acupuncture point is like a letter in the alphabet or keys on a keyboard and when combined in a particular way, send a very specific message to the brain which then creates a change in the body, Rahni started a specific treatment for my ails.
Working on points for stress, anxiety and general calmness as well as neck and shoulder tension from sitting in front of a computer for long hours (I guess that’s why they say you work at ‘breakneck’ speed), Rahni taps a needle into the top of my head. I don’t feel anything except for a light tap and a sense of relief. This point is so powerful that Rahni shared how during exam time at uni, the students would be walking around with ‘antennae’ sticking out of their head! Therapy on tap!
While you shouldn’t feel anything too strong or uncomfortable during an acupuncture session, there is such a thing as being comfortably uncomfortable with research showing that a fair amount of feeling sends strong signals to the brain and is conducive to healing.
“You may feel a little twitch, spasm, or cramping feeling,” Rahni says. “The tighter the muscle, the more response you can get, similar to a massage when key areas are worked hard.
“Pain is the way the body lets us know that we need help in specific areas and the good thing about acupuncture is that we don’t need to know what’s causing what, we just try to break the cycle wherever we can.
“Having a treatment is a sign you are listening to your body which is 80% of the battle. It’s also the non-specific things such as taking time out to lie on the table and just being aware and in touch with different parts of your body.”
I stressed that while I was seeking calm, I still need to be aware and functioning when I head back to work.
Acupuncture can help manage quality of life for most conditions and with the needles in, I enjoyed just having some quiet time while they did their thing.
A final assessment and the needles were removed – again I didn’t feel a thing – except calmer, lighter and with less pain than when I arrived.
Rahni knew I still had a few stressful days ahead so she gave me a parting gift by placing some ear seeds or pressers (they are like small ball bearings on a tiny band aid) in the ‘shen men’ points in my ears. Shen Men translates to ‘spirit gate’ or ‘mind gate’ and are good points for calming the nervous system which manages our fight or flight response.
They are meant to be very mildly uncomfortable but can stay on for 3-5 days. Their job is the opposite to a power-button as when I feel a bit frazzled, I simply give them a press and they will remind my brain to calm my nervous system.
And with that, it’s back to the office for another long night with my shen men spirit gate in place to assist.
In a world where we are often hurried, rushed, or disconnected, it’s important to give your body all the help it can.