By Laura Shin, Registered Acupuncturist

It’s a long-standing tradition to make resolutions at the dawn of the new year. For many, the urge for change comes with the desire to see a better version of themselves, and that means a focus on healthier living. Year after year, the top resolutions are lose weight, exercise, and eat better. But those goals are easily derailed by cravings and a lack of willpower or energy. One or two cheats have people saying, “next year” before falling back into old habits.

There are therapies and modalities that can support people as they work to achieve their goals of a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that acupuncture has the ability to help regulate hormones, improve digestion, and suppress appetite, which it does by stimulating the vagal nerve and raising serotonin levels. It can also, when used with dietary therapy, alleviate two of the strongest cravings that cause resolutions to be relegated to the trash bin (salt and sugar).

Just as importantly acupuncture diminishes stress response, anxiety, and worry—all factors that increase cravings and decrease will power, as anyone (everyone?) who’s ever felt the need to inhale a chocolate bar at the end of a tough day can attest. While most know of the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress or danger, few remember that there is another matching response: one called rest-and-digest (or sometimes, feed-and-breed and other times, rest-and-repair). This response brings the body back to homeostasis after danger has passed. As is apparent from the name, the body is supposed to relax, properly digest, and repair itself during this phase. While under high stress, the body puts all its energy in surviving danger and only focuses resources on digestion when relaxed. At one point in human existence, stress and danger were not the constants they are today and humans spent most of their time in rest-and-digest mode. Modern life, though, creates constant low-level stress that allows few calm moments. Since it’s difficult to eliminate all stress, using a modality like acupuncture to achieve deep relaxation can lead to deep healing.

With planning and support, 2017 could well be the year that resolutions are kept and true positive change is achieved! If you need a little extra support I will be offering group Auricular Acupuncture Sessions between January and March to help keep you on track. Auricular acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny needles into acupuncture points in the ear. We will be combining these deep relaxation points with a guided visualization to soothe your nervous system and help you stay on track. Contact us for more information or to register!