Life in a busy city can take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing. The stress of work, relationships and family management can result in anxiety, the body’s natural response to such pressures. The signs can be subtle at first: prolonged fatigue, fidgeting, poor attention span and emotional hyperreactivity. These issues can then go on to become more problematic when not addressed. Often prescription medicines are used to manage anxiety but less-invasive forms of treatment like acupuncture have become more popular in recent times.
Acupuncture is an ancient practice that serves as the cornerstone of alternative Chinese medicine. Thin needles are inserted into the patient’s body at strategic points to help balance the flow of energy in the body, also known as qi. Acupuncture has been known to reduce headaches, manage migraines, help with back pain and a number of other conditions that people often use medication for. Recently, I visited The Juhi Center in New York City for an acupuncture session addressing recent fashion week stress. I also got a chance to speak with founder Juhi Singh to learn more about the practice and how it can be used to create a more balanced, anxiety-free lifestyle.
What was your first experience with acupuncture like?
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and colitis at 16. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestines causing horrifying abdominal pain, improper digestion, ulcers, internal bleeding, and weight loss. For three and half years, my parents dragged me from one doctor after another in desperate search of an answer. Many of the well-trained physicians were able to keep me alive with high doses of medications, however, by 19, those very powerful drugs had irreversible effects on my organs. By 19, the only solution offered to me by the top specialists in Western medicine was a life-altering colostomy. Still sick extremely sick, barely 90 lbs, my parents consulted my aunt, an Oriental Medical Doctor. Together they formulated a plan for me to stay in India for two months to receive acupuncture and be placed on an Ayurvedic diet specific for my disease and constitution. In two and half months of following this acupuncture regimen and strict diet, I was in remission.
Can you talk us through what someone’s first acupuncture session would be like?
My first task with each patient is to understand the person, their needs physically and emotionally. Often, people want to tell me the symptoms right away. Symptoms are important, but why go there first if that’s all they are, symptoms. I want to know who you are as a person and what is happening to you on a daily basis: what you eat, what kind of exercise you are getting, and how you sleep. With knowledge of your actions, we can adjust them to fit your desired outcome and desired life.
How often (on average) should people aim to have an acupuncture session?
I believe that acupuncture should be done prophylactically, in the same manner that you take vitamins and eat healthy. Often times we can catch an issue before it turns into a bigger problem. My recommendation is once a week or once every two weeks.
How can someone maintain the results from an acupuncture session at home?
Follow the doctor’s prescription and recommendations in terms of diet, exercise and meditation.
What are some stress-reducing things that people can do on the daily to stay in balance?
Meditation. If I can give everyone one gift it would be to teach the world how to meditate. The benefits are profound, it’s free, and you can do it anytime, anywhere, and you are dependent on no one but yourself.