“Running is an optimistic sport: fundamentally, we believe in the power of the body. Meditation is also an optimistic tradition: fundamentally, we believe in the potential of the mind. In Tibetan, confidence is known as ziji. This word can also be translated as ‘brilliance’ or ‘to shine.’ Ziji expresses how confidence feels and looks: mentally we shine, and physically we glow. Both running and meditation bring out our radiance.”
—From Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
I have practiced acupuncture for 25 years, learning from and growing older with
my local patients. Now I find myself moving into my mid-fifties, Yikes! Meanwhile, I have nurtured a life-long love of being active, including trail running, rock climbing, mountaineering, tele-skiing, skimo, martial arts, swimming, and even, during my mid-life crisis, skateboarding. A few years ago I decided to celebrate the entry into my fifth decade by training for and running an Ultra Marathon, defined as any run over the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Enthusiastically, I began training and promptly embarked on a challenging journey of chronic injuries and pain. I battled back plantar fasciitis and significant hip pain for months, while striving towards my goal of running a 50K or 31 miles. I treated myself with frequent acupuncture, massage, and nutritional therapy, in addition to incorporating a stretching and strengthening routine, and yoga classes into my workouts. I was able to gradually move towards and reach my goal of not only running a 50 kilometer but also a 50 mile run to welcome in my 50s!
At times, during my journey of staying fit, I have found myself frustrated with the off and on again structural issues I face during my training, and think maybe I should simply act my age and slow down! But to me the reality of getting a little older does not involve sitting on the side lines, watching life go by. It looks like what I tell my “middle age” patients: take care of yourself, eat right, exercise and meditate, stretch, get sufficient rest, take your herbs, and see your acupuncturist (me) on a regular basis. Reaching our goals and following our dreams demands seeking and finding balance in our lives. It is not an overnight process, but a journey of increased awareness of ourselves, and the world around us. Eastern medicine is a very effective approach to discovering what that balance looks like for each person.
Specifically, Eastern medicine provides a unique framework within which to address health issues and physical changes as we move through our lives, hopefully gracefully! Our health and fitness requirements naturally change as we move through our 20s to our 30s, our 30s to our 40s, and um . . . so on. As a holistic health practitioner who sees the body as a whole, I am able to provide my patients with comprehensive nutritional information that will enable them to maintain good health and energy, and allow them to continue to push their physical limits in their athletic pursuits. Many athletes peak later in life as their mental focus shifts and their awareness of their bodies is heightened.
Acupuncture and herbs can be used to help strengthen our immune system, as well as increase endurance and mental clarity. These natural modalities can effectively treat any overuse or acute injuries that may occur during one’s athletic endeavors.
So don’t take getting a little older sitting down, just stretch, roll (on your foam roller), and get up and go! Meanwhile listen to your body, get treatment for any chronic or acute injuries, and learn what you need to do to not only maintain your athletic abilities, but to be fit and fabulous!
Lynne M. Drakos is the longest practicing Oriental Medical physician in Summit County, having owned and operated her clinic, A Balanced Crane Acupuncture Clinic, for the past 21 years. She is a state licensed and nationally certified acupuncturist and herbalist. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of healing, staying healthy, and getting the most from life with her patients. Please call (970) 547-9415 or contact the clinic with questions or for an appointment at BalancedCraneAcupuncture.com