Stress and Anxiety with Acupuncture
During our lives at one time or another, we all experience stress. These feelings are our body’s response to events which are happening in our lives that are beyond our control.
Stress causes an imbalance in the body’s energy and impedes its smooth flow. The qi can become blocked and stagnate. It must be unblocked to enable the free flow of energy in order to restore harmonious balance in the body.
When we are healthy and the stress is short-lived, we are usually able to recover without too much damage to our overall health. However, when the stress is extreme and becomes long term it can impact our emotional health and over time affect our physical health too. By stimulating the proper acupressure points, the energy can flow freely, thereby alleviating stress induced mental and physical symptoms.
Long term stress in our bodies results in a constant state of a “fight or flight” response to deal with the stress. Over time, this constant state of stress takes its toll on our bodies. Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone rises, resulting in our blood pressure increasing, our immune function becomes suppressed. These symptoms can worsen in chronic conditions and develop into anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, digestive issues and headaches.
In depression, acupuncture has been shown to be effective in improving sleep, mood and quality of life (Bosch et al, “Schizophrenia and Depression: A systematic review of the effectiveness and the working mechanisms behind Acupuncture. Explore (New York) 2015;11(4):281-91)
Emotions from a Chinese Medical Perspective
In Chinese medicine, stress and anxiety are emotions of the LIVER which affects the smooth flow of energy throughout the body. People who are extremely stressed complain of upper back, shoulder and neck pain. This is because the stress is causing tension in these muscular areas, blocking the free flow of energy, causing pain, tightness, and often leading to headaches. High levels of stress may affect many other parts of the body, causing digestion, sleep loss, pain and especially high blood pressure. Stress can also aggravate an already troubling health condition.
Through acupuncture, we can unblock this energy and bring back its smooth flow. It will help alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but get to the cause of the stress and anxiety itself. Acupuncture leaves the body feeling calm and relaxed, it also improves the circulation of the blood throughout the body.
From a Western viewpoint, acupuncture works to alleviate stress by releasing natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. Acupuncture also improves blood circulation throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and regulates cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, relaxes the muscles and aids in better sleep.