Eating. Sleeping. Pooping. These are, by far, the top three things that have the most effect on your health. If all of these three activities are working out well for you, you are on the right track.
Of course, there are many other options out there to improve your health and well-being: exercise, fresh air, meditation. . .the list continues. But if you are getting the first three right, you’re creating a solid foundation of health to build on to with these other things. If you aren’t eating, sleeping, and pooping well, adding all that exercise and meditation is like building along with a crumbling foundation. . .and life. We all know that garlic builds up our immunity, preventing us from getting sick, but did you know that virtually every other spice in your cabinet has medicinal properties, as well?
You do not have to get a degree in herbal medicine to eat well, but you should educate yourself a bit on what you’re putting into your body. I am always amazed at the misconceptions people have about food. Patients will come in and discuss how healthy and strict their diets are, and then talk about the pound of cheese they eat each night (“I only eat foods that are natural!”) Eating unprocessed foods is a fantastic idea, but that does not mean that everything natural is necessarily great for you. I’ve also had patients that are very weight-conscious brag about their low-carb diets. . .only to discover that they’re basically living off of bread and non-fat ice cream. Again, not the best option. Thus, read a book. . .do some Googling. . .or talk to your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist. The info is out there, you simply have to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
After the ingestion comes the pooping. . .and if you are not doing it, or you’re doing too much of it, it’s a sign that the total qi of the body might be suffering. Poop is pretty much the greatest measure of what is happening internally. Bloodwork might tell you, but it’s not quite as convenient as getting this info in the comfort of your own bathroom. We acupuncturists can collect a huge knowledge about what is going on inside you by finding out about your bowel movements, but all of you regular people out there only have to know a few things. Your poop should arrive 1-3 times each day, be formed but not hard, and come without blood, pain, or an unusual level of work. If all of this applies to you, you are in good shape. If not, a change in diet may be in order. We acupuncturists can also get things moving regularly, if need be. . .oh, beautiful, lovely sleep. At least, that’s how I think of it now-I look forward to drifting off into sweet dreams and can’t wait to go to bed at night. But I remember feeling quite differently about my bed a few years back, while I was suffering from a bout of insomnia. I was worried going to bed, since I knew I had several hours of tossing and turning ahead of me. I was stressed waking up, since I barely had enough energy to get through the day. I think of sleeplessness as a type of cancer of the spirit, slowly eating away at every other aspect of your life and health. If you simply aren’t getting enough sleep because of lack of effort on your part, make some adjustments that will allow you to get more. Trust me, your body will thank you. If you’re a true insomniac, though, there are many alternatives out there to help. Working on this is an investment in your health. Visit a sleep therapist, an acupuncturist, an herbalist. We can all start you on the road to getting your sleep, and ultimately life, back.