Join Leaha Mattinson and Greg Bird as they speak to Dr. Sarah Thorne, former Canadian Bobsled athlete and present-day acupuncturist, about sports, wellness, and spiritual self-discovery.
22.59 – 23.04: “Your body is really good at healing itself, that’s just a fact about the human body.”
39.55 – 40.01: “Peru is such a beautiful place to go. Get lost and find yourself.”
47.59 – 48.06: “I would really encourage people to do their own research and find their own pathway to healing.”
The Ins And Outs of Acupuncture (3.30)
Dr. Sarah Thorne says that as both a patient and a doctor of acupuncture, she has had different experiences. The western approach is the medical pain-based one whereas the eastern one is that of managing the body’s energy meridians to balance chi. She recommends “being very open to understanding that maybe you’re going for one thing but you might be able to experience something totally different”.
The Mind-Body Experience (8.59)
Sarah notes that the first session with acupuncture could work miracles for some people while it may take a few sessions for others. Acupuncture increases one’s blood flow and makes it easier for different parts of the body to access oxygen and nutrition, she explains. When this happens in the brain, it helps in reducing the clutter of thoughts and experiencing a state of calm, like having awoken from a deep, restful sleep.
Discovering The Magic (12.00)
Regardless of what you come to her for, Sarah says that you will step off the acupuncture table feeling happier because the process is designed to increase energy, serotonin (happy hormones) and endorphins (natural pain killers). Some patients laugh, some cry, some talk a lot and some come to have a quiet time. A session can be “a great time to yourself to experience what acupuncture can actually do for your mind and do for your body”, informs Sarah.
The Sporting Journey to Success (14.50)
Sarah has been an athlete her whole life, playing varsity soccer and volleyball. Her professor suggested her try out for the Canadian Bobsled team in Alberta. When she was turned down because she was ‘too small’, she took the help of a coach and gained weight to make the national team and eventually the Europe Cup team. Working with the team’s chiropractor-acupuncturist piqued her interest in the field, leading her to go to school for it.
Finding the Balance (17.46)
Acupuncture helps you develop a connection with your body and brings you back from the tendency to be on overdrive, “looking for that next hit”, explains Sarah. She, too, confesses to being consumed by her career goals. While staying mindful in the present is always going to be a work in progress, Sarah says that this profession has allowed her to fulfill both her scientific business side as well as her creative side.
Nothing To Be Afraid Of (22.35)
Sarah has noticed that her patients can tell when they are running low on energy and need a session to refuel them. They come in for preventative or maintenance care, to top up their energy levels. Sarah admits to having been scared of needles when she first started but reassures us that the process is not painful. In fact, it is a great way to boost immunity and trigger the body’s mechanism of healing itself.
It’s Electric! (24.15)
Sarah also provides electroacupuncture using needles charged with a current. This procedure increases nerve-muscle communication and helps in injury recovery for athletes and weekend warriors. She shares the case of a 70-year-old woman who tried electroacupuncture after having become depressed about her nerve condition and found instant relief after just one session.
Give It A Shot (30.44)
Sarah says that the magic of acupuncture lies in the alignment of energy systems and the release of that life force energy through your body, for any condition. “I think it’s really important to tell people that if they are not understanding it on one level not to… be strayed from the fact that it might help them on a totally different level”, recommends Sarah. Taking care of our only home, our body is paramount in having every other area of our life function well.
The Masked Breather (35.45)
With the compulsion of masks, Sarah says that “we’re not getting the breath that we’re used to getting”. We need to start taking conscious deep breaths. Shallow breathing from the throat instead of the diaphragm creates tension in the back and shoulders and affects sleep patterns. Masks can also cause maskne, or mask acne, another unwanted side effect of having to be trapped behind a mask.
A Peruvian Odyssey (37.30)
In 2017, Sarah’s friend invited her to go to Machu Picchu on a pilgrimage. Even though it was out of her comfort zone, it helped her get more in touch with herself. Opening up her spiritual side which had been subdued by her religious upbringing felt liberating. She observed that the energy levels in Peru were very strong and helped her enhance her mind-body connection. Being in nature also helped her ground herself.
The Little Voice In My Head (40.15)
One of the greatest gifts Peru gave Sarah, which continues to this day, is listening to her body, mind and heart. She is now aware of her inner voice and ensures she doesn’t shut it out or override it. She has begun trusting and loving herself, sinking back into the comfort of her intuition. Sarah says that in this fast-paced world where people are in survival mode, reconnecting with oneself is essential to improve one’s health and relationships.
Find The Right Fit (43.47)
Sarah advises getting a referral for an acupuncturist instead of “just randomly picking somebody out of the phone book”. Research the practitioner, learn about their background, ask questions, understand their offerings and see what your benefits plan covers. Developing trust is also an important consideration as well as the scope of practice offered, to ensure you get what you are looking for from the treatment.
Lifelong Learning, Lifelong Wellness (49.12)
It’s useful to understand the wellness aspect of acupuncture, remarks Sarah. Stepping out of your comfort zone to learn more can enhance our knowledge because “we only know what we know”. That new piece of information could guide us towards health and wellness and overall well-being. Acupuncture is one of the ways to tap into the natural resource of the body, with its many capabilities of self-healing.
Easy Exercises For Wellness (53.54)
Sarah signs off with an easy breathing exercise even if you only have 10 seconds driving to work – sit up straight, roll your shoulders back and take 10 breaths in from your nose, feeling your diaphragm, filling your lungs out, and breathing out from the mouth. She also points out the LI4 area on our palm between the thumb and first finger, connected to the large intestine. Rub that to relieve headaches or neck pain.
Master Your Life – Recovery Road Episode 10:
Poking Healing Into Your Body with Dr. Sarah Thorne