Feeling the onset of winter blues? Acupuncture can help!
What a difference a week makes. On Friday I left the clinic and walked in bright and unseasonably (or perhaps, these days, increasingly seasonably) warm autumnal sunshine.
Fast forward just four short days – days in which the clocks returned us to Greenwich Mean Time – and I left at roughly the same time and found myself heading home at dusk that bore only the dying embers of London’s 13-degree daytime temperature.
Although only 96 hours had passed since I last made that journey, the fast-creeping darkness had a tangible impact on my mood, which was just a little bit heavier, a smidgeon less joyous.
Where on Friday I had enjoyed my walk, today I simply wanted to get home.
As Jon Snow would say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming …
No matter how sunny our disposition might be normally, we are all affected to some degree by the drawing in of the autumnal and winter evenings. There is a period of mourning for summer that we all go through as the sun bids its farewell earlier and earlier once August passes into September and the kids go back to school.
For many of us, this is a period of temporary adjustment to a new ‘normal’ and once we come to accept the fact that the darker evenings bring their own sense of beauty, the majority of us are able to put those feelings of loss to one side and get on with living life.
For the rest, though, the winter blues – or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – is a very real problem and it can be a barrier to enjoying life and being happy. Luckily, acupuncture is a brilliant way of combating its effects.
SAD is actually a form of depression and there is much evidence in support of acupuncture as a treatment that can tackle the causes of depression, along with other common mental health problems.
Acupuncture is a centuries-old traditional treatment that uses superfine needles painlessly inserted at strategic points on the body to restore balance in the body’s natural energy – or qi (renounced chee). The needles stimulate activity in the nervous system, generating the production of naturally-occurring ‘happy’ neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and beta-endorphins.
These hormones, together with the rebalancing of the body’s energy, act as a natural antidote to the depressive state that the change in the seasons can trigger, leaving you better able to rationalise how you feel and deal positively with the negative effect the shorter days has on the body.
SAD is linked to the body’s need for natural light, which itself provides much needed Vitamin D. This boosts the immune system and improves heart and lung function – and the reduction in natural Vitamin D production is part of the reason why winter brings with it a whole range of health issues.
By dealing with hormonal and energy imbalance, acupuncture can play a part in offsetting the impact of reduced vitamin levels. This, together with a healthy diet which boosts other vitamins that are in shorter supply in the autumn and winter months, can be a powerful weapon against the winter blues and the associated negative impact on our emotional wellbeing.
So, if you’re struggling with the approach of winter, the colder weather and less natural light and feel like your body could do with a proven boost, why not come and talk to us and see how we can help you face the day with renewed energy, positivity and hope!