Growth, Transformation, Overwhelm and Confusion
The teenage years can be a whirlwind of growth, transformation, overwhelm and confusion. We’ve all been there and I’m sure you have some memories from your teen years that you wish could have gone differently, or were offered more support to help you with this time. I feel like alternative therapies are often seen as only used or appropriate for adults and small children, and the teenage years, where extra support is crucial, are often left out.
Teenagers are in a time in their life of learning who they are and how they want to be as adults in the world. There is an immense amount of learning, growth and experiences that take place during these very important years, and having support to help smooth the process is paramount. The top 10 things teens deal with as problems are: depression, bullying, sexual activity, drug use, alcohol use, obesity, academic problems, peer pressure and social media.(1) I find that almost all of these problems are rooted in the person going through the process of discovering who they are and how they interact with others in a social environment, in other words - developing a strong sense of self. When we have a strong sense of self and the self esteem and confidence to stick to that sense of self, it makes navigating these potential issues a bit easier.
Self-Esteem, Confidence and Healing
Acupuncture can help with physical issues like pain from sports injuries or other issues,(4) migraine headaches, help with regulating the menstrual cycle and easing PMS symptoms, help with acne, weight management, improve sleep and reduce stress. Being a teen is quite frankly, an incredibly stressful experience! But in addition to the obvious physical benefits of acupuncture, treatments also help with navigating the turbulent ocean of life as a teen, by helping them get back in touch with their true sense of self. Acupuncture helps patients to clear energetic blockages, sometimes these blocks create physical pain, but other times they are less obvious and effect mostly the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. When we experience a blockage in our energetic body this disrupts the smooth flow of energy which can also disable the person’s spirit to fully integrate into the body and experience. This kind of spirit - body disconnect can result in difficulty sticking up for oneself, a lack of self esteem and confidence, difficulty concentrating, depression and anxiety. Being in this non-integrated state can lead to difficulty with academics, social interactions and alcohol and drug use, often used as a coping mechanism.
I find that steps to full integrated wellness are rarely taken as a standard, instead alternative therapies like acupuncture, meditation, yoga, chiropractic care and even psychotherapy are used only when a problem becomes overwhelming in nature. There are always more subtle signs and smaller issues which arise that are often overlooked or ignored, before a more serious problem or issue fully develops, and this is a crucial time to seek support. When we use acupuncture as a therapy for preventative medicine and for consistent support is where benefits can be quite profound, helping keep a person well is always a preferable direction than waiting until there are problems that need to be resolved.
Support on Every Level
I think of acupuncture as support for integrated healing, my focus is rarely on curing a problem, although this is often a wonderful side benefit, but in promoting true healing. True healing is where we reconnect with part of our true authentic selves, regardless of whether or not our problem is resolved. Experiencing a state of true healing often leads to resolve of the chief complaints, but most importantly leads to a healing of the root of these issues on the energetic frequencies. When we heal the root of the problem, this helps the person re-integrate into their body and become more of their true self, a crucial integration for a teenager! Integrating your true self is a very important step for improving sense of self worth, self-esteem, self confidence, and overall peace and well being. Acupuncture and meditation have shown to not only help improve stress levels, but also to help improve a person’s ability to navigate and deal with stress. This increased ability to manage stressful situations results in a decrease in the rate of cellular death and oxidative stress, which has an anti-aging effect on the body and mind.(2,3) This effect can help improve our ability to manage day to day tasks, like doing homework and social interactions in the work and social heavy environment of high school.
When we care for ourselves as not just a physical body, but incorporating every layer of self into that care, we experience true integration and healing which results in an improved quality of life and more resilience to dealing with the ups and down life loves to throw at us. This ability to navigate the swinging spectrum of life experience is what is being learned during the teenage years, and adding support to help in this process can produce a profound effect. Using acupuncture shouldn’t just be for adults or small children, nor should it only be used in case of crisis or when problems arise, it is an incredible tool for helping build resilience and confidence in our day to day lives. Self confidence and self esteem are two of the most important qualities to have while navigating middle and high school, and providing our teens the support they need to enhance these qualities is extraordinarily important. By utilizing acupuncture to help with physical problems like chronic pain,(4) acne, weight management, depression and anxiety we help patients to improve their quality of life, and integrate more into their true sense of self which improves self confidence and esteem, and improve the patient’s ability to navigate the life of a teenager with greater confidence of being supported from a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual plane.
Dr. Kim Peirano, DACM, LAc is the Owner and Acupuncturist at Lion's Heart Wellness, the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin's #1 Cosmetic Acupuncturist and #1 Holistic Healer.