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Fitter By 50 with Poppy Potter; Acupuncture Takes on Sugar Cravings

Have you every wondered which would be easier…giving up sugar for 90 days or sticking needles in your face?  Well, wonder no more!  I can tell you without a doubt that sticking needles in your face is much less painful.  In fact, acupuncture, can actually help eliminate sugar cravings!  Who knew?

In my journey to be Fitter by Fifty, I gave up “added sugar” on January 1st for a minimum of 90 days.  That has been no easy task for a sugar addict like me.  I have fallen off the wagon a total of five times in that 90 day period.   The culprits were cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, and sea salt caramels…all worthy adversaries.  It seems that years of sugar addiction can’t be erased in a mere three months and I have been looking for some extra help to battle those cravings.

Then along came “Mighty Miller” to the rescue.  Kelli Miller is the licensed acupuncturist at the Strata Integrated Wellness Spa and she is sprightly like a pixie with boundless enthusiasm for her acupuncture art.  But don’t let her small size and huge smile fool you…she has a pocket full of needles and she won’t hesitate to use them!  The good news is that those needles bring big time relief from a wide variety of aches, pains, and ailments.

Acupuncture is a component of Chinese medicine based on the belief that there are patterns of energy flow through the body and any disruptions in this flow can cause pain and disease.  By inserting and manipulating tiny metallic needles in specific anatomical locations, the imbalance of the energy flow can be corrected.  It has been used for more than 2,500 years in other parts of the world but only gained popularity in the western world in modern times as we have broadened our view of medicine and taken a more integrated approach to healthcare.

It was during my initial consultation with Miller that she asked me the fateful question, “How do you feel?”  My response was immediate…”Cranky!”  I explained to her that I had been off “added sugar” for quite some time and I was still having some difficulty with cravings.  Even though the actual physical cravings are few and far between, they seem to occupy a lot of my thoughts.  She explained that acupuncture is quite beneficial for curbing cravings, especially the two most common…salty and sweet.

Excessive intake of sweet and salty foods is the cause of many modern day disease such as obesity and heart disease.  Salty cravings are a result of weak energy in the kidneys and sweet cravings are a result of weak energy in the spleen.  So by balancing the energy in those organs, the cravings should go away.  Other signs of spleen deficiency include tiredness, weakness of limbs, gas, and bloating.  Check.  Check. Check. Check.  It’s official…I’m definitely weak in the spleen!

Miller suggested I do one treatment a week for three weeks and once a month after that to maintain my good energy flow.  The first treatment had me lying face down on a table so she could insert approximately 25-30 needles in various points on my hands, back, legs, and feet.  Did it hurt?  NO!  Seriously…no.  Most of them I did not feel at all and any that I did feel, felt like nothing more than a tiny little sting that went away immediately.

After the needles were all in, she placed an Infrared Mineral Heat Lamp over my back to increase blood circulation and allow minerals to penetrate even deeper into the skin and body.  This lamp does not utilize high temperatures so it is very comfortable and works well to relieve pain and stiffness in joints and muscles as well.  After I was all comfy and cozy, Miller left the room for about 30-45 minutes to let the needles do their work and I may or may not have dozed off for a few.  After that, she removed the needles (also painless) and sent me on my way for a week.

For my second treatment, I was face up on the table.  The reason for the change in position is to allow her to get closer to the other side of the spleen.  This treatment included a needle in my FACE…in between my eyebrows to be more exact!  Again…zero pain involved.  If you are envisioning the character Pinhead from the movie Hellraiser right now, you will be disappointed.  Again, only ONE needle in the face.  More needles in my hands, legs, and feet…and also, for those of you who are ridiculously ticklish like me…needles in the stomach.  Again, not painful…unless tickling is painful to you and then it could be considered torture.  But not really.  It was totally fine.

She put the heat lamp over the needles on my stomach this time and left the room for 30-45 minutes.  When she returned and removed the needles, she showed me a spot near my big toe that is connected to the spleen and explained that my husband should rub that 100 times every night and that would also help increase energy to the spleen.  Okay…maybe she didn’t say my husband should do it, but he doesn’t need to know that.  I can easily reach it myself in case my sweet, kind, and caring husband doesn’t want to do it for me (he’s probably going to read this).

Today will be my third treatment so I will report back on final results in a future blog.  But I can say that in the meantime, I do feel a difference in my cravings, specifically nighttime cravings which are usually the worst.  As it turns out, there is a reason why most people crave something sweet after their evening meal.  Chinese medical theory believes that we have an “Organ Clock” where for two hours each day, that organ is functioning at its highest level.  For our stomach and our spleen, it functions at its strongest  in the morning and its weakest in the evening.  That’s why we don’t typically crave sweets in the morning for breakfast but we do in the evening after dinner.  This is also why it’s important to have a good breakfast each day and to not have a big evening meal when those organs do not have ample energy to process and digest it.  Makes total sense!

Watch out sugar cravings…I don’t think you are going to be any match for Mighty Miller and her pocketful of needles!

Check back with me in two weeks for more on my journey to get Fitter by Fifty!

Until then, I’m Poppy Potter trying to get Fitter by Fifty!