MOD ACU - Encourage Positivity Through Tapotement & Meditation
Anxiety has many faces. Sometimes it looks like sleepless nights or bursts of emotion or even fixated, repetitive motions like hand washing.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you stop washing your hands! If you’re like me, though, you may have found yourself incessantly washing your hands and rewashing your hands even when it wasn’t completely necessary (like when your spouse hands you a drink in the middle of your Netflix binge and you run to the bathroom to wash your hands and simultaneously grab a disinfectant wipe to clean off the cup). No, just me?
My point is that habits formed under stress become ingrained in our neuromuscular behaviors, a process called neuroplasticity.
In the 1960’s we discovered that our brains maintain the ability to “rearrange” structurally after a traumatic event. Furthermore, that type of environmental stress has been proven to have an impact on our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Acupuncture has been widely popularized regarding its positive effects on stress and pain. It was only recently discovered that one of the body’s responses to acupuncture was the stimulation of neuroplasticity in a relaxed or parasympathetic state - in essence, creating the behavior of relaxation, an important technique for those suffering from chronic stress in their daily lives or those who have gone through a traumatic event.
So what if you can’t get regular acupuncture treatments?
Not to worry! Chinese medicine employs many self-care techniques to help you better cope with stress through intentional movements and moments of silence. One technique is called tapotement. Tapotement simply means repetitive tapping on body parts.
Tapotement works by increasing circulation and lymphatic drainage to reduce stress and fatigue in muscles.
An effective way to use tapotement to decrease stress is to:
- Shake out your wrists and arms.
- Make a cupped hand or loose fist
- With your cupped hand or loose fist, start at your feet and begin tapping each body part, verbally acknowledging each as you do. This acknowledgement helps your brain stay fully present and not get distracted by other thoughts. (For example, white tapping your foot say, “this is my foot”.)
Another technique to support distress, is committing to a journey of mindfulness through meditation.
Meditation doesn’t need to be a long, frightening process… it can simply mean, taking 5 minutes out of your day to set an intention or listen to your breath. Meditation can be done while your being treated in the Zen Lounge or while you’re relaxing at home.
For more on how you can develop your mindfulness practice, Check out Donny Starkin’s 28-Day Meditation Challenge
to form one of the most healthy daily habits you can have for your mind, body, and spirit.
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- Daily Guided Meditations – You will be able to tune in as Donny leads an inspirational meditation on Facebook and Instagram (the LIVE video meditations will be available to access for 24 hours on the social platforms)
- Challenge Calendar – You will get a free printable calendar to follow along with the “word of the day” challenge
- Grow Your Brain – Develop clarity and improve your concentration.
- Build a New Habit – By meditating up to 5 minutes each day you can form a new routine with the meditation practice.
Being mindful about how you combat stress through the suggested practices of both tapotement and meditation, will self-serve and encourage positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Written by: M. Rachelle Smith, MSOM, L.Ac, Clinical Director of Modern Acupuncture Cool Springs