I think we all know someone, or maybe it’s even ourselves, who lives by the refrain, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Often used to put off replacing outdated tools or technology, the phase can be connected to how we view healthcare as well. It can be hard to think about our physical health until it is a problem. Something we take for granted, until, as it were, it’s broken. Why would we spend time and money on something before it’s necessary?
This view of healthcare is a challenging mental hurdle to overcome. But overcoming it can lead to a greatly improved quality of life.
Ancient practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine would administer regular treatments to everyone in the community, not only as reactive treatments once someone was sick or injured. Today, in the United States, the vast majority of patients only seek out acupuncture treatments once they are feeling pain or sickness.
For acute ailments, patients might see positive results rather quickly, and then stop their appointments, but the real gift of acupuncture is the whole-body balancing and realignment that can occur once the acute afflictions have been addressed.
Acupuncture works to balance our hormone levels, address digestive and sleep imbalances, and improve our energy level throughout the day. Each of these things can greatly improve our quality of life, but if they weren’t presenting a big, visible problem – if they weren’t broke – we would normally just ignore it, drink more coffee, chew a TUMS and carry on.
Through this work of correcting imbalances in the body and strengthening the immune system, acupuncture functions as a highly effective preventive medicine, meaning it helps our body function at its best, which supports it in fighting off illnesses before they start or recovering more quickly from injuries when they do occur.
In a year dominated by stories of death and disease, preventive medicine feels all the more pressing. When we give ourselves the gift of really feeling our best, we are taking a proactive stance on our health, which can end up saving money, time and hardship later as we are better able to fend off sickness.
As a preventive medicine, acupuncture is very low risk compared with consistent medication use. Studies show patients very rarely experience negative side effects due to acupuncture. Acupuncture can be an inexpensive, convenient and very effective preventive medicine.