Acupuncture as a Natural Stress
How to relieve stress with
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, many of us constantly feel like we are at our wit’s end, beaten down
with stress and exhaustion. Often, we only realise how severe our stress has gotten when it begins to create other
issues, such as poor mental health, insomnia or unhealthy coping mechanisms such as binge eating or drinking.
Stress damages health
In the long term, chronic stress can contribute to heart
disease, high blood pressure, obesity and sexual dysfunction, meaning it’s important to treat the issue early on.
If you have been experiencing headaches, anxiety, fatigue, tightness in the chest, loss of appetite or just
generally feel high-strung, there is a chance you could be under a great amount of stress. Due to its pervasive yet
subtle nature, stress can’t be targeted with a magic pill or treatment: instead, a holistic and natural approach is
required to truly resolve the issue and your unique presenting symptoms.
|Stress can start as a simple tension and
if unattended develop into a serious health problem
that can affect many bodily functions and cause a serious damage to your
Acupuncture is traditional Chinese medicine
Those looking for a natural way to ease their stress should consider acupuncture, a traditional Chinese treatment that has stood the test of time. In traditional
Chinese medicine, stress is not thought of as a singular issue, but an external factor that influences your
entire body. When stress strikes, your body switches to the flight-or-flight mode, elevating your heart rate and
putting you on high alert. This also means your body slows down its “non-essential” functions, such as the
digestive, reproductive and cardiovascular systems.
When seen through the lens of traditional Chinese medicine, it becomes easy to understand how stress affects the functioning
of various parts of your body, from your mind to your muscles. In traditional Chinese medicine, stress is
thought to be able to affect your spleen and heart, causing sleep and digestive issues. When stress acts on your
liver, it can cause issues with your emotions and menstrual cycle, while stressed muscles result in a fatigued
body. Stress can also affect your gut health, thought to be the control centre of the body in traditional
Chinese medicine, which causes the body to divert its attention from proper digestion to stress responses such
as elevated heart rate and sweating, creating blockages within the bowels.
Acupuncture promotes Qi flow
Acupuncture works to treat stress by aiding in relaxation and promoting the flow of Qi, or energy (also known as
Chi), throughout the body. This clears any blockages that have been polluting your body,
rebalances the body and allows it to heal itself. Depending on your exact symptoms, different meridians will be
stimulated, targeting whichever one of your organs is responsible for your presenting symptoms. Acupuncture can
also block elevations in stress hormones, helping you ease the overall feeling of “being on edge”. In fact,
acupuncture can be thought of as the equivalent of physical therapy for the nervous system, allowing it to
function the way it should.
|Acupuncture treatments involve inserting
thin needles in specific points on the body,
that will promote the Chi (Qi) energy flow, this providing a healthy balance.
Highly effective in treating stress
While some may be sceptical of the effectiveness of acupuncture, the ancient practice has actually been shown to be highly
effective in treating stress and its associated symptoms, as well as preventing stress from occurring in the
first place. A 2013 article in the Journal of Endocrinology found that “electric acupuncture blocks the chronic,
stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the sympathetic NPY pathway,” demonstrating the
treatment’s ability to block the body’s stress response. You will likely feel relaxed after your first
acupuncture session, with a maintenance program helping you to treat your presenting symptoms as well as prevent
stress from wreaking havoc on your body in the future.
A holistic and knowledgeable acupuncturist will also work with you to establish other
healing and coping mechanisms you can use to keep your stress at bay. After all, stress cannot be cured with
just one treatment, due to how intangible yet pervasive it is. Some coping mechanics to raise your endorphins
and control your stress include meditation, yoga, exercise or simply taking some time out to pamper yourself
every now and then. By regularly engaging in an activity you enjoy, you give yourself an outlet for your stress,
preventing it from bottling up and causing Qi blockages. Overall mental health and stress management can also be
aided by following the basic health tenets that include healthy eating, quality sleep, regular exercise and
avoiding stressful situations and people.