Stress and Acupuncture

Stress: what you feel when life’s demands exceed your ability to meet those demands *

Stress is caused by several factors:

  • mental anxiety about circumstances in everyday life
  • emotional disturbances
  • physical health problems
  • lack of exercise and sleep

Frustratingly, these same factors also can manifest themselves as results of stress, causing constant strain on the body. Feeling an imbalance, a lack of grounding, lots of muscle tension, or an inability to feel “in the moment”, are ways in which we often describe the overload that our central nervous systems sometimes experience.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine help reduce the effects of stress.

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Your Body and Stress

The body’s reaction to fear, otherwise known as the “fight or flight” state, is a natural response; the stress hormone cortisol elevates and blood pressure increases, and the immune system in suppressed. When the body is in this state for long periods of time, the body’s physical and chemical reaction can remain more constant, causing damage. A person may develop symptoms from stress that range from tight, painful shoulders and neck to headaches, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, depression, irritability and heart and digestive problems.

Regular acupuncture treatments for stress and anxiety can:

  • help the body’s energy moves more smoothly
  • cleanse the tissues and blood
  • have a positive effect on the sympathetic nervous system, by cycling out excess cortisol in the system, which interferes with “good” chemicals, like serotonin, the body’s natural mood enhancer
  • strengthen a vulnerability to increased stress
  • help reduce Insomnia, Depression and Anxiety
  • release powerful endorphins, morphine-like, to help the body respond to pain more naturally

The proper functioning of your organs is maintained by the interaction between nerve endings in the central nervous system and those organs, which, due to chronic stress, can become blocked, or the qi diverted. Acupuncture helps redirect the understimulation or overstimulation of these organs through the nerve endings, or acupuncture points.

The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is especially vulnerable in patients with advanced heart failure, with activity at two the three times greater than normal. Many beta-blockers have side-effects that render them useless to some patients. A study at UCLA on heart failure patients subjected the patients to anxiety producing situations, which greatly increased SNS activity. After receiving acupuncture, those patients took a second test with no increase in SNS activity.

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* quote from Bill Reddy, L.Ac.