Written by: Amanda Cressman, N.D.
The New Years is generally a time of reflection and creation of goals and plans for the coming year. 20 years ago I created a resolution of sorts with myself and have been asked to share it here. It’s one I have spoken about numerous times in my office and I hope it may be of interest to you, if you’re reading this.
When I was 19 years old, I was in my first year of university and was doing my best to be successful in all aspects of life. I was in a science program that was challenging, living in a dorm with lots of people and away from home for the first time. To give you more context, I didn’t know it then but I was a perfectionist…or at least on the spectrum – expecting the best from myself and frustrated and embarrassed when this wasn’t achieved. I had a ton of friends…I literally was invited to 50 weddings in 7 years. I was that girl…the girl everyone was friends with, who floated easily between cliques and groups of friends and somehow made connections in them. I was about 30-40 lbs heavier than what I am now and I went to each of these weddings alone…single which was difficult but was my reality. I share these details to help you gain more understanding as to why this resolution was created.
So, one day in the Math Building at University of Waterloo, I got back a calculus test and didn’t do well. I did ok, but ok was never enough for me, it needed to be great. I was known as the ‘smart’ girl growing up and not achieving well in school shattered this core part of my identity. Upon getting the mark, I did what I always did in times like that….I went for it…and began criticizing and basically yelling at myself. My inner dialog was mean, harsh, shaming and malicious. And it didn’t just stop at not achieving the mark I thought I should have, it was relentless and began attacking my body, my personality, every shortcoming it could see, it attacked. In those moments I would freeze, almost like a child receiving punishment, waiting for it to be over….for my sense of worth to be trampled on before moving on with my day. But for some reason, something was different this day. I was struck with a new thought, that this behaviour was hypocritical…that if I were to talk to any of my friends the way I talked to myself, that they would be appalled and I would have no friends. For some reason, this dissonance was very unsettling and wasn’t ok. I have always strived to be authentic as best I can and this was the opposite of that.
So, I did something that was very un-me. I went out shopping and spent money on myself. I bought myself a ring as rings had represented something very special to me – the symbol of worth. And instead of waiting for someone to give me this gift, it was time to give it to myself. So, I bought myself a promise ring and made a commitment to work at being my own friend. Each time I would catch myself criticizing or judging myself, I would rub my ring and say, “What would you want your best friend to say to you?” and I would say it to myself. It was actually really hard for the first bit and was challenging as trying to be an authentic person…the compliment felt very inauthentic. But I kept with it and 20 years later, I’m on my 3rd ring with the compliments finally feeling easy and becoming more of my natural narrative. It’s still a process, one that needs attention and care but changing anything is just that…a process.
New Years Resolutions are a wonderful symbol of the desire to change but a game plan is needed to implement the change on a day to day basis, especially when it really counts. I am so grateful for that moment in the Math Building when the realization that the narrative had to change to ensure I was being authentic and able to lead a kinder and happier life.
Happy New Years to you and hoping whatever resolution you have created, that it’s one that creates health and well being for you on all levels.
It is quite common for Acupuncture clients to feel a little nervous before receiving their first acupuncture treatment. What I always find though is that by the end of the treatment people are always pleasantly surprised by how good and relaxed they feel.
What happens during an acupuncture treatment?
During your first appointment, we will go over your Initial Intake Form. (The Intake form is very long but it paints a picture of your system and helps me come up with a custom treatment plan for you). I will look at your tongue and feel your pulses on your wrist (this also helps come up with a Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis).
The acupuncture needles are ultra-thin (hair thin), sterile, disposable needles. They are gently inserted and generally feel like a mosquito bite as they are inserted. They are quite comfortable when they are inserted. The treatment itself can last between 20-30 minutes. It is at this point people take a nap, meditate, or just relax (and this is easy to do during an acupuncture treatment!)
In most cases people feel quite relaxed, in a calm zone while other people feel more energized following an acupuncture treatment.
A series of acupuncture are generally recommended depending on your main complaint and other factors.
Acupuncture is only one type of treatment that can be used on its own or in combination with acupressure, cupping therapy, or moxibustion.
Change of season often brings with it just that…change. The easy going energy of summer and transitionary time of fall have passed and we often find ourselves busy with routine once again. Amongst the winter season brings physical and emotional stressors…particularly the months of December-February. Kitchener Waterloo is a busy city with very busy people. I see many people in my office trying to juggle a lot and often come in when the stress has become too much, resulting in anxiety, depressed mood, insomnia, etc. For many, prioritizing self and our health can be tricky when so much is asked of us.
It’s a time to ensure care for self is a priority as this season often brings increased expectations and busyness.
I once heard this great story about a teacher from an elementary class who wanted to remind his students about the importance of priorities. Apparently this is a true story.
Each kid was given:
- a gallon jar with the lid
- a pile of sand
- 4 large rocks
- a pile of gravel
- handful of little rocks
- a pitcher of water
The teacher asked the students to fit everything into the jar and they attempted to do so. Many combinations were tried but after 10-15 minutes they gave up, saying it was impossible. The teacher then showed them how to strategically fit everything into the glass jar, proving it wasn’t impossible. First the large rocks went in, staggered upon each other. Next were the little rocks, that fit in between the empty spaces, then the gravel, then the sand and finally, the water. Each smaller item filled the spots that were left open and finally the lid was put on.
The teacher then shared with his class, the point of the exercise: Life is always going to be very full…with demands and expectations from various areas of ones life and our job is to figure out what the ‘big rocks’ are and ensure they are a priority.
I was told this story about 25 years ago and have remembered it. As I have grown, the prediction of that teacher proved true – that life is full with expectations coming from so many places. But when I have identified what my ‘big rocks’ are and ensured they fit into my jar/life first – everything else seems to sort itself out. The key for me though, was remembering that my ‘big rocks’ change from time to time….some weeks/months demand something different where a former ‘big rock’ has needed to become a ‘small rock’ in this analogy.
This simple example reminded me that there needs to be fluidity in our lives with our goals/ideals. Life is full of varying experiences and we need to support ourselves amongst that diversity.
I hope this simple story is helpful, reminding you to honour what your ‘big rocks’ are and knowing that nothing is set in stone, per say…things can change from time to time. But give space for honouring them and seeing if everything you desire fits in the jar more easily and readily thereafter.
“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.”
Cupping is a technique used in Chinese Medicine to stimulate acu-points or larger areas of the body. Glass or plastic cups are placed on specific areas. Through suction, the skin is gently pulled into the cups. Cupping improves the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.
In clinic, the most common reason people come to me for a cupping treatment is for back, hip, neck, and shoulder pain and stiffness. Beyond muscle pain and stiffness, there are many other wonderful ways cupping is effective treatment:
Facial Rejuvenation Cupping:
Small, glass cups are used with very gentle suction. No red marks are left on the face. This is a gentle and relaxing treatment.This treatment helps:-stimulate the production of collagen and elastin to encourage firmer skin -circulate blood to the face to help with dry skin and improve the complexion -decrease facial puffiness and sinus drainage -relieve headaches
Whole Body Lymphatic Drainage:
This is a very gentle treatment that aids in lymphatic drainage and circulation.-helps with detoxification -helps regulate and release excess fluids in the body
Cups are placed over the lung area on the back. This treatment can help:-chronic and acute asthma -bronchial infections -move out a cold/congestion
Fertility:-can help increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries -helps decrease stress
564-572 Weber Street North, Unit 3A Waterloo, Ontario N2L5C6