The Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From Getting Acupuncture

More than just needles.

By Rachelle Shuttlesworth
yoga, malibu, view

I started going to acupuncture four years ago in hopes that it would help with my digestion issues and endometriosis. At my first appointment, my practitioner asked me to walk her through my medical history, tracing my digestion issues all the way back to childhood. I specifically remember her saying, “Think of your body like a cruise ship – it takes a lot of time and effort to completely turn it around. That will be the same with your body.”

What I didn’t know then was that incorporating acupuncture into my life would not only change my eating habits (and the number of essential oils in my pantry); it would completely alter the way I think about my body, health, and life.

I’ve learned a lot in the four years since, and the 3 lessons below have actually proven to be life-changing…

image by claire huntsberger


camille, chocolate, bathroomimage by hannah haston

Your body and brain think differently.

This past December, my life was rife with change. My husband moved back home after being away for work for four months. I quit my job, took on a big freelance event planning job, travelled to Europe, sold my condo, bought a house, renovated that house, and, amid all of that, worked as best as I could to be present for the holidays with friends and family.

It was during this chaotic time that I visited my acupuncturist, and told her about my stomachaches, racing heart, and sharp chest pains. She considered my symptoms, then reminded me that, although my brain was excited and convinced that I could handle everything, my body was working too hard to keep up. As a result of my body working over time, it was acting out in ways that felt far from normal.

Our brains are incredibly powerful and can make us confident we can handle everything the we throw at at them. But our bodies are more sensitive, more easily disrupted, more intolerant to change. As much as we want to push through mentally, we must be mindful of the impact on our body or risk noticing some physical break down.

bed, woman, mailbuimage by claire huntsberger

Sleep is the foundation of health.

Sleep is our foundation. It’s the only time our body is able to fully rest, process, and prepare for what’s next.

A night of good sleep generally leaves us feeling refreshed, energized, and healthy. While a night of bad sleep can wreck the day ahead, dealing with grogginess, fog-headedness, and a lack of motivation.

Unfortunately, you can’t make up sleep. If you only get 5 hours of sleep one night and then 10 hours of sleep the next night, you still had a day where your body wasn’t fully able to rest and prepare for the next day. That already puts you behind for the next day! Nights of bad sleep will cause your body to weaken and become more vulnerable to stress, digestion issues, and viruses.

If you’re feeling off and not 100% yourself, I would recommend first taking a look at your sleep. Are you prioritizing sleep? Is your sleep dream-disturbed? Do anxious thoughts keep you awake? Tackling this issue will make a world of difference in your life – I can attest!

camille styles meditationimage by kristen kilpatrick

Slowing down isn’t a weakness.

Our culture is constantly telling us that we need to do more, be more, and achieve more. We’re expected to have successful careers, a fulfilling marriage and family life, to maintain our deep friendships, build new friendships, find time for the gym, make time to give back to the community, and, well, fill in the blank!

Ultimately, it’s too much. Too much for our brains, body, and soul. It’s physically impossible to give all of yourself to everything. By trying to do this, we run too hard and too fast, ultimately wearing our whole self down. We become tired and apathetic, ending up not having the energy to care about the things or people we love.

We’ll feel happier and healthier if we slow down, reflect on what’s truly most important to us, and keep a clear focus on those things. This doesn’t make us weak or less than: it makes physically, mentally, and emotionally strong with the ability to fully invest in what brings us joy and gives us life.