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By:  Saima Anto, R.Ac, RTCMP

The mind-body connection is increasingly acknowledged as vital to health and well-being.

In fact, the mind-body connection is so powerful that its measured effects can be bigger than the measured effects of many prescription drugs. This is why studies of the effectiveness of medications have to be designed so that the power of the mind-body connection is controlled for. Whether you want to maintain your current excellent health or are looking to make some changes to see improvements, examining your relationship with your body is always a good idea.

There are a lot of ways to approach the broad and complex subject of the mind-body connection; let’s keep it simple by looking at it in terms of work. Work is something we can all relate to because it’s a fundamental aspect of our individual and collective lives. Whether we feel like it or not, we go to work and do our jobs— and we expect the same from our bodies.

Are you a good boss to your body?

Like you, your body is doing the best job it can with the resources it has. Working for a good boss not only encourages staff to perform well, but to grow and develop at their jobs. On the other hand, a bad boss will result in subpar performance, and make workers tired, discouraged, and confused. So if you have been feeling like your body is letting you down, or springing unpleasant surprises on you, it’s a good time to open up the lines of communication and check-in with your body, to make sure you’re holding up your end.

To support your body in working well, it helps to avoid some common mistakes. One of the top three causes of workplace stress and dissatisfaction is micro-management. Bad bosses interfere in the work process, sapping employees’ motivation and sense of competence. Take a moment to consider all the things your body does that don’t rely on your direct supervision. How hard would you have to work to stay alive, if every bodily process required your conscious control? In other words, your body has a mind of its own, and it’s a lot smarter than you are. So make sure you are listening to your body and meeting its needs before you start issuing orders or making demands.

Bad bosses withhold acknowledgment from their employees or even steal their hard work and ideas. So, make sure your body knows you appreciate how good it is at its job, and how hard it works!

Bad bosses expect you to produce results even when they won’t give you the resources and tools you need to get the job done — and then they blame you for ‘failing’.

Don’t do this to your body.
If your body is always last on your list of priorities, it isn’t going to have the resources to give you what you want. Not that we can always choose our priorities; sometimes you just aren’t in a position to give your body enough sleep, adequate exercise, or regular healthy meals. In that case, be reasonable about what you can expect under such conditions.

Listening to your body is one thing — understanding what your body is saying is a whole other matter. What if you are trying to be a good boss, but you just can’t figure out what exactly your body is asking for? You may know you need to get more sleep, for example, but what does it mean when your body doesn’t fall asleep easily at a reasonable bedtime? Or wakes up and can’t fall back asleep? You may know the importance of regular meals, especially breakfast, but what if you’re not hungry in the mornings? Maybe you’ve got a system all worked out for managing your busy life while still looking after your own needs — but lately, it doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been listening to the human body for thousands of years, and it’s gotten very good at not only understanding the language of the body but communicating effectively with the body to promote recovery and wellness.

This is because Traditional Chinese Medicine is holistic — that is, TCM has always recognized and worked with the power of the mind-body connection. Acupuncture is very good at helping your body use the resources it has more effectively, and the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you understand what your body is asking for when it develops symptoms. No pill or treatment can take the place of meeting your body’s needs, but the experience of acupuncture can help you learn to listen with more understanding, and respond more effectively when your body is speaking.

Saima Anto, M.A., R.AC, R.TCMP is a Registered Acupuncturist and Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner at the Pacific Wellness Institute.  She is available for acupuncture treatments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  Please call 416-929-6958 to inquire about the appointment.