It’s well known that grief involves emotional turmoil; it is often associated with such words as sorrow, heartache, and suffering. However, grief is not a strictly psychological experience. The pain of grief can extend from the emotional to the physical, making it both complex and very personal. If you are grieving, here’s why you might want to consider acupuncture for grief:
In 2014, a study published in the journal Ageing and Immunity found that among the elderly, in particular, the recent loss of a loved one may leave someone more susceptible to infectious diseases. These results are in keeping with additional studies focused on understanding grief.
Grief has been found to induce or intensify physical pain, increase blood pressure and blood clots, and contribute to both appetite loss and people finding less pleasure in food. Previous research has also found that following the death of a spouse, people were more likely to experience decreased overall health, and be less compatible with the flu vaccine.
The physical effects of grief can even include the heart—which may come as no surprise to those who liken grief to heartache. Studies have shown that a person’s risk of heart attack is increased 21 times the day after a loved one’s death, six times in the following week, and can remain a concern for as long as a month. These physical effects of grief are often compounded by other harmful factors; grief may cause someone to overwork themselves, self-medicate with alcohol or other substances, avoid their emotions, and withdraw from relationships and social activities.
Acupuncture is often referenced as a beneficial treatment for physical ailments—but it can also help advance psychological and emotional healing, making it a potentially powerful tool for addressing grief and its effects. The basic principle of acupuncture and Chinese medicine is that there is a pattern of energy, or Qi, within the body, mind, and spirit that must be balanced. If the Qi is disturbed, the manner in which a person expresses emotion will be impacted.
When it comes to grief, acupuncture may be used to help “open” the mind and body from an emotional perspective, but it can also be applied to physical symptoms of grief like back pain, blood pressure, immune system complications, and more. In addition to speaking with you about how acupuncture could be used to treat grief and grief-related health problems, an acupuncturist may also recommend additional ways to proactively manage grief. Tips can include:
- Diet modification and regular exercise
- Taking time to talk about your loss with friends and colleagues
- Writing through your feelings or expressing them openly
- Joining a bereavement group
- Celebrating the life of your loved one in a way that pays tribute to them
Of course, psychological counseling and therapy are always worthwhile avenues when faced with grief. In fact, acupuncture may be combined with these treatments naturally and easily, and many patients consider acupuncture an extension of their psychological therapy.
Grief can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to face the experience and acknowledge its effects. Investigating the benefits of acupuncture and other treatments are positive steps towards acceptance and good health that extend to both the mind and body. To learn more about acupuncture for grief, contact Acupuncture Associates to schedule an appointment.