In the past when we readied ourselves for Rosh Hashanah, the Holy Jewish New Year, we began working within ourselves to better both our individual and our family’s ideals and goals. We had a strong focus and reflected on what improvements could be made on our own, at home, with friends, and within our work environment. We tried to reassess and reevaluate, and see if we could improve our work, life, and family balance. We focused on becoming a better person, a better listener, and a better giver. The past two years have been different. The constant changes have given rise to a very unsettled feeling. It is almost impossible not to be affected by the constant fluctuations around us. During chaotic times, trying to keep our inner circle as organized and non-chaotic as possible, helps solidify a stress free, productive and healthy environment. When this becomes impossible, it can severely impact our day-to-day emotions and thereby our physical well-being may be influenced as well. Just as a rock tossed into a pond has a ripple effect on the water in its surroundings, so too are we affected by what goes on in our midst. As a result, on a daily basis, I find myself being asked by my patients what they can do to ensure they are, and they remain healthy. They are seeking guidance. They want to know how to avoid getting physically ill, and what to do when they are feeling emotionally spent.
I often tell my patients that you need to focus on what you have control over, and let go of that which you do not. We cannot control the government mandates of what is required for our children in school, or for ourselves at work. We have little or no control over what happens to someone after having Covid even with high antibodies, and even after being vaccinated two or even three times. If one has made their ‘hishtadlus’ or put in as much effort as possible, will this be enough?
In Chinese Medicine there are numerous types of Qi. Consider Qi as the energy and life force that courses throughout your body at any given time. If you cut flowers from your garden, how is it that with a little water, they can continue to thrive for many days before wilting. It is the Qi that runs through it that continues to allow it to prosper. We will discuss some of the most vital types of Qi. Yuan Qi is your ancestral Qi. This is the qi that you were born with. You have no control over what you were brought into this world with in terms of good genetics. Certainly, a healthy lifestyle from your mother during pregnancy would have great input. As would the lifestyle of both parents prior to conception. While you cannot increase the ancestral qi you were born with, you can learn not to deplete it. Ensuring that you try and not burn the candle from both ends will safeguard that you are utilizing this qi properly, and do not risk using it up, as it is difficult to replenish.
With that said, there are ways in which you do have the ability to supplement your Qi. Gu Qi is the qi that you receive from the food that you ingest. It is the quality of the food and supplements that you choose on a daily basis to incorporate into your diet. There are moments when we all enjoy an unhealthy, high fat, high carb meal. However, we need to look at the big picture. The overall quality and health of your diet can have a huge impact on how you either deplete your qi, or preferably you supplement it in a healthy and nourishing way. By doing so, you will continue to replenish and provide the necessary strength and stamina needed to get through your day, and have the wherewithal to get through challenging times.
One of the most important types of Qi that I work with in my practice is Wei Qi. The simplest explanation in Western terminology would be one’s immune system at large. When I am asked by my patient’s, what can I do to help support myself, the simple answer is to strengthen your Wei Qi. My best patient is the one who realizes that it is a partnership. I can do my best to support your immune system with Acupuncture. However, if you enhance your various types of Qi by incorporating a healthy lifestyle, my work will be that much more effective! Insuring you have a solid foundation is essential. The roots of a two hundred year old Oak tree will sustain even during the wildest of storms. The branches may be pushed around in the wind a bit, but the tree by its grounded and rooted foundation will weather the storm. If you have a solid foundation, and your Wei Qi is optimally strong, you too will be able to weather the storm.
There has never been a more important time to incorporate Acupuncture into your wellness regimen. Acupuncture is at the helm of beefing up your immune system. Strengthening your Wei Qi, and taking preparations before a storm is something you can do. Consuming proper nutrition, to enhance your Gu Qi, utilizing exercise, listening to music, getting enough sleep are all essential parts of the same goal to support oneself. These are all ways that you can provide sustenance, and enhance, and refill your Qi and vital life force.
Avoiding unnecessary stressful situations is important as well. The constant news feeds and updates that change by the minute, are enough to make anyone crazy. Sometimes disconnecting from your phone for a short while, or agreeing not to get into arguments with people over varied opinions, is the best thing you can do. These are not times where your discussion will change their mind. Instead, you will be butting heads and increasing your frustration. Better to skirt around the issue, and to maintain respect for each other regardless of the varied opinions. This is all easier said than done. Trust me I have a lot of practice lately, as to how to avoid getting into discussions with patients over these topics. Sometimes it is ok to agree to disagree.
As we welcome the New Year, I encourage you to make a concerted effort to be kind to your friend and neighbor regardless of your differences of opinion. I encourage you to stay focused on what you have control of, and try very hard to let go of that which you do not. Incorporate Acupuncture and a healthier lifestyle to strengthen your immunity, to build up your Qi. Let’s hope and pray for a happier, healthier year going forward for all of us.