We all know that the month of December is one of celebration, letting loose, partying and for some, drinking more than usual. By the end of the month, often the symptoms that manifest in our bodies are a lack of energy, feeling blah from carrying an extra few kilos, suffering from hot sweats at night, feeling hotter than usual in general, having low energy levels and longing for a good night’s sleep.
The regular consumption of alcohol is associated with many adverse outcomes such as liver disease, mental health issues and even cancer. Giving up the booze or drinking less can have an immediate positive effect on our health such as better sleep, less bloating, weight loss, more energy, greater concentration and a clearer complexion.
The good news is – you can easily get back on track by having a break from alcohol so that you feel healthier and happier again.
In Chinese Medicine, alcohol consumed in moderation is considered fairly low risk to your overall general health and wellbeing. When consumed in small quantities, alcohol stimulates blood circulation, can reduce hematology (bruising of the skin), it vitalizes the blood, dispels cold symptoms and drives out wind from the body. Pure alcohol can be used in prescribed herbal tinctures to relieve conditions being treated.
High risk drinking (any intake above the recommended daily allowance, including binge drinking) can seriously put your health at risk. Even if it’s only once or twice a week, high risk drinking can cause health problems, increase the risk of injury and accidents, affect normal behaviour patterns, distort communication skills and affect relationships.
What too much alcohol does to the body
When too much alcohol is consumed too often, it often creates imbalances within the liver and gall bladder. The liver is the organ that processes (metabolises) and clears the blood of alcohol. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), excessive alcohol intake creates a combination of excessive damp and heat in the body which we refer to as damp-heat.Damp-heat impedes the flow of qi and blood throughout the body creating disharmony with not only the liver but other organs and energy systems of the body.
Many drugs (including alcohol) are metabolised and processed through the liver which can make this organ toxic, congested and over-heated. Furthermore, the liver blood may become weaker and deficient when the liver is overburdened with toxicity and heat. Long-term consumption of alcohol damages the stomach, exhausts the blood and jing, impairs the mind and subsequently leads to an array of health problems.
A combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is used to treat this health issue holistically. Acupuncture clears the toxins from the liver system, rebalances the body so that you are able to function without alcohol, treats the emotional ties to the addiction, and has a calming effect on the nervous system.
Regular acupuncture treatments which include ear acupuncture plus the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol can be very helpful for many patients, easing their symptoms and bringing welcome relief.
Seeing a qualified and registered TCM practitioner for advice specific to your condition is a safe, natural and effective way to deal with this health issue. Along with acupuncture, the prescription of Chinese herbal formula/s best suited to your condition and constitution can get you well on the road to better health and wellbeing.