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The way we deal with stress is like waves in the sea. When we are under pressure and feeling stressed, our body becomes alert as it prepares itself to go into fight or flight mode which is the top of the wave. When we feel safe again, our body releases the stress by going into rest and relax mode which is the bottom of the wave. So our body deals with stress as a continual wave cycle of peaks and troughs.

Stress develops into something more serious when lots of events happen in close succession keeping our body in fight or flight mode without any rest and relaxation. Constantly being ready for fight or flight at the peak of the wave can lead to anxiety. The stress becomes trapped in our body, making us overthink so we react to everything regardless of whether it is safe or a danger to us. We start to feel on edge, worried and panicky all the time, even when we don’t need to be.

As well as fight or flight, there is a third stress response which is freeze. This is similar to a rabbit in the headlights when it doesn’t know what to do to keep itself safe so it does nothing in the hope that the danger will go away. Freeze mode is like diving down into the trough of the wave where we can hide from the turmoil above. Constantly being in freeze mode can lead to depression. We start to feel overwhelmed and helpless and feel like we want to withdraw and disappear. Anxiety can also turn into depression because being on edge and worried all the time is exhausting and eventually our body will start to shut down. Acupuncture can help you feel more in control when a tidal wave of emotions threatens to overwhelm you.

Anxiety and depression are mental health challenges that are becoming more common in our fast-paced modern society. We are on the go all the time trying to find that elusive work-life balance. It is important to find a way to release the stress so that our body can rest, relax and recover. When did you last take some time for yourself to simply relax and be in the present moment without worrying about everything around you? There is no weakness in seeking help with this so why not try acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a relaxing treatment in a safe environment where you can release the stress that has built up in your body, reducing the triggers for anxiety and depression. Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.


Stress is our body’s response to pressure, either physical or emotional, and is a normal part of everyday life. There are many different situations that can cause stress such as work deadlines, relationship troubles, financial worries or health concerns. We often feel stressed when we think a situation is out of our control. When we are stressed we might suffer from headaches, an upset stomach, a racing heart, or not being able to sleep.

Put a potato in hot water and it goes soft. Put an egg in hot water and it goes hard. Same situation, different reaction. How you react to a situation may be very different to the person next to you in the same situation. We all have a different threshold for the amount of pressure we can deal with. A little bit of pressure can be good in that it motivates us to achieve our goals. Too much pressure and everything comes tumbling down around us. We feel exhausted and lash out or withdraw. We can handle one minor event when it happens on its own but that same event can be the final straw at another time when lots of things are happening. It can feel like a waterfall raining down on us with no escape to the fresh air for a chance to breathe. 

In days of old, a stressful situation usually meant you were in danger or feeling threatened. Your body would prepare you to either fight or run away. The stressful situations we face today are often more emotional than physical but we still have this built-in fight or flight response that kicks in to try to keep us safe. Our heart rate goes up and digestion shuts down as there is a rush of energy to our arms and legs which mobilises us to fight the danger or run away. This burst of energy keeps us alert so that we can battle through whatever is causing us to feel stressed until we feel safe again. Once we feel safe we can start to relax and release the energy so our heart rate goes down, digestion resumes and breathing returns to normal. We need to be able to release this energy each time we feel stressed otherwise it becomes trapped and stored in our body which is when our mental health starts to be affected.

Acupuncture is a relaxing treatment that can help you deal with modern day stress. If you are struggling to cope with the pressures of life why not try acupuncture to help release the stress and heal any associated symptoms? Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.


An ancient solution for a modern problem! Anyone who has been on holiday to a country with a different time zone to where they live will know the curse of jetlag, when your body clock seems out of sync with the time of day. The concept of using acupuncture to beat jetlag was established in the 1970’s with the ancient technique being used to overcome a modern problem. 

Our internal body clock works on a naturally balanced daily rhythm over 24 hours. The most obvious of these is our sleep/wake cycle which is connected to the sun’s light/dark cycle. When we travel across time zones we force our body to adapt to sudden changes in routine and our sleep/wake cycle becomes disconnected from the light/dark cycle, throwing off our internal body clock. This disruption to our daily rhythm can cause many symptoms including fatigue and insomnia. Have you ever returned from a relaxing foreign holiday to find that you’re awake half the night and exhausted during the day? Scientists estimate that it takes one day to recover naturally for each hour time zone crossed but it is easier to adjust when you fly west and gain time than when you fly east and lose time. 

The ancient concept of acupuncture is based on identifying disruption to energy flow in your body and rebalancing it, which is why it works for jetlag. Night shift workers can have similar problems with their body clock being out of balance with when they need to sleep or wake so it works for them too. 

Qi (pronounced chee) is your life force energy flowing through channels or meridians in your body completing one full circuit in 24 hours. There are 12 meridians relating to the five elements and different parts of your body.  During the 2 hours it takes for the qi to pass through each meridian, that meridian is at its strongest. This is your body’s energy clock. When you travel, your energy clock needs to be rebalanced to your current time zone so that your internal body clock with its sleep/wake cycle is once more in tune with the light/dark cycle. 

Acupuncture helps to rebalance your energy after traveling across time zones. It can also help your body adjust to irregular work patterns that don’t conform to the normal sleep/wake cycle. So next time you’re feeling out of sync with the time of day, why not try acupuncture?

Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.


Insomnia is a sleep disorder that means you aren’t sleeping as well as you should be. Do you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? Do you wake up early and then lie there wondering why you’re awake? Do you toss and turn at night or have dream disturbed sleep so you don’t feel refreshed in the morning when you wake up?

Sleep is important and most adults need around 8 hours each night. This means we spend approximately one third of our lives asleep. Sleep is vital for maintaining good mental and physical health.  Just as we need to breathe, eat and drink, we need to sleep well. Our brain can’t function properly without enough sleep, which affects our ability to concentrate and think clearly.

1 in 3 adults experience insomnia. Are you one of them? If so, you’ll know it can be a minor inconvenience or a major disruption depending on how it impacts your life. If you find yourself lying in bed wide awake and wishing you were sleeping soundly, why not try acupuncture? It’s more relaxing than counting sheep!

Insomnia is often caused by stress, anxiety or traumatic events that keep your mind active at night. Not getting enough restful sleep can lead to you feeling worn out during the day as well as attention and memory issues. This in turn can lead to worry about why you can’t sleep and so the cycle continues.

Sleep is part of the natural rhythm of your body. Your internal body clock has a 24 hour sleep/wake cycle based on the light during the day and darkness at night. When the sun rises in the morning the yang energy in your body is dominant making you feel awake, active and alert. When the sun sets in the evening your body releases the hormone melatonin that makes you feel calm, relaxed and sleepy so that your yin energy takes over. Sometimes these two opposing energies can become confused which is why many people struggle in the winter months when the nights draw in and it is dark by 5pm because your body clock is telling you it’s time for bed. Hormonal changes when pregnant or during menopause can also affect this.

Sometimes simple lifestyle changes can make a difference to how you sleep. Avoid using computers or smartphones just before you go to bed as the blue light can delay or reduce the production of melatonin. Avoid eating a large meal before you go to bed as your body can’t relax while providing energy for digestion processes. Limit the number of caffeine drinks like coffee you have later in the day as they stimulate your brain preventing you from feeling sleepy naturally.

Medication to help you sleep is only for use on a short-term basis. Acupuncture is a natural alternative with no long-term side effects.  It calms a worried mind and rebalances the energy in your body so that you get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling like you’re ready to tackle the day. Insomnia does not have to be something you just put up with.

Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.

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Hurray! Spring has burst into action with a canopy of green leaves unfurling overhead in the trees, the flowers are blooming in a rainbow of colours and the grass is growing like there is no tomorrow. Rushing outside you take a deep breath of fresh air and… Achoooo! You suddenly sneeze, your nose is running and your eyes are watery and itchy. Welcome to hay fever season!

Allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, affects 1 in 4 people in the UK. It is an allergic reaction to the pollen from trees, grass and weeds and is usually seasonal. Although the symptoms are similar to a cold virus, they can last for weeks or months, unlike a cold which usually disappears in 1-2 weeks. Tree pollen causes hay fever in the spring, grass pollen causes it in the summer, and weed pollen (ragweed) in early autumn. Other allergens such as dust, cat and dog dander, and mould can cause similar reactions all year round.

Hay fever is caused by pollen that is light enough to be airborne. This means it is carried by the wind not just outside but into your home through open windows and doors. Heavier pollen that bees collect from flowers does not tend to cause hay fever unless you have been in direct contact with the plant. 

Pollen is harmless but your immune system views it as a dangerous substance invading your body. When pollen gets into your eyes, nose and throat, your immune system tries to protect you by producing antibodies which release histamine into your system. Histamine inflames nasal passages, sinuses and eyelids causing the hay fever symptoms to occur which are meant to protect your body by expelling the allergen or causing swelling to block the allergen from entering your body. You are essentially being attacked by your body’s natural defence system. 

The symptoms can feel like a bad cold that goes on and on, draining your energy and disrupting your sleep. Over-the-counter antihistamine tablets are often used to counteract the hay fever symptoms as well as nasal sprays and eye drops. But why not try acupuncture? Acupuncture is a natural alternative that can effectively relieve a blocked nose and itchy eyes but it can also help to prevent hay fever symptoms from occurring in the first place. The holistic nature of acupuncture allows the whole person to be treated and not just the symptoms. Try it and see the difference it can make to your summer experience.

Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing.  Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.

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We all know the symptoms. It starts with a sniffle or a sore throat, then turns into a runny nose, sneezing and coughing, along with headache, fever, chills and fatigue. Before you know it, you’re tucked up under a blanket surrounded by tissues and eating chicken soup.

The common cold is a respiratory virus that you catch from someone else. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections so your doctor will not prescribe medication unless your cold has turned into something more serious. The symptoms occur because your immune system is trying to remove the invading virus from your body to protect you. Over-the-counter cold medication will help suppress the symptoms so they are less severe, which makes you feel better but doesn’t help cure you. A cold needs to run its course while your body fights it.

Your immune system defends your body every day from viruses and bacteria which could cause illness. A weakened immune system will find it harder to fight off a cold. A strong immune system may prevent the cold from taking hold in the first place. We often catch a cold when we don’t look after ourselves properly, life gets busy and we start to feel a bit run down. There is never a good time to be sick with a cold but trying to carry on as normal can make us even more tired and stressed. Drinking fluids and getting enough rest will help your natural self-healing system.

We get sick when our body is out of balance. Acupuncture brings our body back into balance and helps to strengthen our immune system which prevents us from getting sick in the first place. Our immune system is our natural defence against illness and as prevention is easier than cure, it makes sense to ensure that our immune system is in tip top condition. Regular acupuncture once a month will help to keep your body balanced and your immune system strong. Book now to start strengthening your immune system in the fight against colds and viral infections.

Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.


If you’ve ever suffered from a migraine, you know how debilitating it can be. As well as a throbbing headache which is typically just on one side of your head, accompanying symptoms often include feeling sick, being sick and having an increased sensitivity to light and sound. It can seriously impact your daily life and often lying down in a dark, quiet room until the symptoms pass is the only answer. A migraine will last from 4 to 72 hours and can leave you feeling tired for several days afterwards.

Five element acupuncture is an effective and natural approach to finding relief from intense and debilitating migraines. This holistic therapy treats the whole person – body, mind and spirit – and helps manage the symptoms and frequency of migraines.

The cause of migraines is not fully known. Common triggers include lights, smells, noise, weather, hormonal changes and emotional stress. Everyone has their own threshold for what affects them. Some people experience visual disturbances such as blind spots or flashes of light before the start of a migraine. These warning signs are known as aura. Other people have no warning before a migraine attack begins. Migraines can also cause anxiety – do you worry about when the next migraine is going to strike and where you will be when it happens? Acupuncture can also help you feel more in control so that anxiety is less overwhelming.

The frequency of migraines differs for each person, but sometimes it can feel like a continuous cycle of pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Over-the-counter painkillers often come nowhere near to relieving the symptoms so prescribed medication is required, although side effects can occur from frequent or prolonged use.

Some people try acupuncture because they want to reduce the amount of medication they take for migraines. Some people try acupuncture when they are told they cannot take the medication that will help their migraine symptoms. Ladies…imagine the joy of finding out that you are pregnant and then being told that your usual prescribed medication for migraines would be harmful to your baby. How will you get through the next few months?  Why not try acupuncture?

Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.

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21st December 2022 is the winter solstice with the shortest day and longest night, bringing minimum light and maximum darkness.

Winter requires us to slow down and be patient while we replenish our energy reserves. It is a time of uncertainty and we seek reassurance as we wait for the light to return. We must summon more willpower to get through these cold months than in the carefree warmth of summer.

In years gone by, winter was a time to rest and reflect after a busy year of sowing, growing and harvesting crops. There were fears that the stored food may not last the long dark season and the return of spring, when crops could be planted again, seemed a long way off. Conserving energy meant food supplies lasted longer so the chances of surviving the winter were better.

Water is the element associated with winter and has many forms. It can be a gentle trickling stream or a powerful crashing sea. It can be a raindrop in a puddle or an iceberg in an ocean. It can be a delicate dewdrop on a blade of grass or a snowstorm weighing down tree branches.

Water can be difficult to contain and has a strong determination to find a way to flow freely around obstacles placed in its path. It has willpower and strength to not give up but sometimes it can become stuck and unable to find a way through.

Does this sound like you? Does your fear and worry of what's to come sometimes hold you back? Do you feel like some days you can tackle any problem life throws at you and other days you get so bogged down trying to resolve problems that you go nowhere fast? If so, perhaps your Water element is out of balance.

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins…

not through strength, but through perseverance.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr

Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.

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23rd September 2022 is the autumn equinox when once again day and night are equal, light and dark are balanced. We say goodbye to carefree summer and abundant late summer and turn towards autumn when we start to slow down and take stock of what is needed to get through the colder, darker months. It is a chance to release the past and move forward with clarity. The trees have a colourful patchwork of leaves before they tumble through the crisp air to create a carpet that crunches under our feet. The leaves eventually become nutrients that are stored in the tree roots over the winter.

Autumn is a time to let go of things we no longer need or have lost, so that we can accept change and make room for new things.  Letting go allows us to realise what is most important to us so that we recognise what we still have and can decide to move forward with it. Letting go is part of the grief process which some people try to avoid because they don’t want to experience its pain, or they associate grief with weakness.

Metal is the element associated with autumn, cutting through life’s clutter and debris allowing clear and precise thought processes to give us order, structure and precision, as well as a sense of purpose and self-esteem.  In years gone by, autumn was the time when abundance was past its peak and people had to be sensible to make supplies last over the coming months. It was important to be level-headed and keep on top of things.

Metal likes to maintain boundaries and values traditions but can become opinionated if it tries too rigidly to stick to a principle. Goals are assessed and then pursued to perfection. However this desire for perfectionism can make it difficult to let go, leading to a lack of motivation, depression and despair. The structured order turns to chaos.

Does this sound like you? Are you a perfectionist? Do you feel easily overwhelmed if everything isn’t perfect? Is your house immaculately clean and tidy, or is it cluttered and full of things you no longer use? Are you holding on to memories of something that happened in the past which is stopping you moving forward? Has life lost its purpose and you have a feeling of hopelessness? If so, perhaps your Metal element is out of balance.

 “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.”


Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.

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Late summer is a turning point between the yang seasons of spring and summer and the yin seasons of autumn and winter. The warmth of summer is still in the air but the mornings are getting cooler and the daylight is gradually becoming shorter in the evenings.

Late summer is when we are happy and content with what we have. It is a time of being busy and sociable, centred around a relaxed calmness, making people feel safe and cosy. In years gone by, late summer was the time of harvest and giving thanks for everything the soil had produced. Bringing in the harvest was hard work but it was done with relaxed contentment, knowing that it meant full store cupboards. A poor harvest led to worry and people knew they would have to adapt.

Earth is the element associated with late summer giving us a feeling of stability. It allows us to think clearly and transform ideas into action. However if we become too comfortable and content we have less of a desire for change and can become indecisive and uncertain. Earth loses its stability and thoughts churn in an endless spiral. Nothing is achieved, leading to worry and anxiety.

Earth is generous during times of abundance, and thrifty during times of need. It makes the most of what there is but always has something to give without expecting anything in return. It has the ability to make something out of barely anything when necessary. But if there is nothing left to give, Earth will start to feel sorry for itself and seek sympathy, which turns into insecurity and neediness.

Does this sound like you? Do you find that you are always rushing around trying to help everyone else but never have time to look after yourself? Do you struggle to say ‘no’ and keep taking on more and more? Do you find that you think about things too much, not able to make up your mind, which leads to more worry? If so, perhaps your Earth element is out of balance.

 “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.

When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Lao Tzu

Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.

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21st June 2022 is the summer solstice with the longest day and shortest night, bringing maximum light and minimum darkness. The wheel of life has turned from spring to summer.

Summer brings us feelings of lightness, happiness and openness. In years gone by, summer was a time for celebrating and relaxing when maximum growth was nearly complete after a busy spring. Crops had grown and everyone could enjoy themselves before harvest time arrived.

Fire is the element associated with summer giving us warmth, passion and vitality, whether it’s a crackling campfire, a romantic candle or the light of the sun. It allows us to love, to be spontaneous, and to live in the moment and feel alive.

Fire allows a person to communicate, make connections and develop relationships. It thrives on social interaction and attracting attention. It is colourful and extravagant. Fire is driven by fun, with sparkling eyes full of joy and enthusiasm. It wants you to join in the excitement, the smiles and laughter are contagious.

Fire is hot and active, quickly rising upward and outward, speeding things up and promoting activity and transformation. Fire creates heat which is essential to life and growth but too much heat can destroy life, withering and burning crops. If the Fire gets out of control, a charismatic personality turns fanatic, always laughing and partying, constantly seeking joy, needing more and more each time. Too little heat and life falters, growth is limited and crop yield is low. An undernourished Fire seems cold and distant, with a lack of spark, craving connection but being incapable of nurturing it. If a person lacks the fire of enthusiasm they become inhibited which leads to insecurity, and the passionate fire is suffocated by doubt and worry. Does this sound like you? Are you feeling a bit out of control and burnt out, or feeling like you’ve lost your spark and your get-up-and-go?  If so, perhaps your Fire element is out of balance.

 “Set your life on fire, seek those who fan your flames.”


Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.

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20th March 2022 is the spring equinox when day and night are equal, light and dark are balanced.

Yin and yang are complimentary opposites where one cannot exist without the other. The balance of yin and yang forms nature’s continuous cycle of change and transformation. Yin is dark, cold, slow, inwards, contraction. Yang is light, hot, fast, outwards, expansion. As we emerge from winter and turn towards spring, we start to become more active as the daylight lengthens and the temperature rises.

Spring involves movement and growth, with the energy of new life bursting forth. In years gone by, spring was a time of hard work, ploughing and sowing, that had to be done without question. There would be no harvest later in the year without planting now. Standing still was not an option.

Wood is the element associated with spring when plans are made and turned into actions. It is constantly moving forwards, upwards, outwards, like a seed pushing new green shoots out of the ground. Wood needs space and freedom to grow and expand without being confined. If something gets in the way, pressure builds until an angry explosion occurs. It needs to be flexible to change and adapt to get around obstacles so it can continue to move forward to reach its goal.

Does this sound like you? Do you feel like you are hopelessly stuck, rigidly following the same plan with no flexibility to form new plans to move forward? Or perhaps you have so many plans that keeping them under control is difficult and they’ve turned to chaos. Do you quickly lose your patience if something stops you from doing what you had planned to do? If so, perhaps your Wood element is out of balance.

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

Chinese proverb

 “The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”

Japanese proverb

Five Element Acupuncture brings the body, mind and spirit into balance to improve your health and wellbeing. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.