stress management

Acupuncture: Stress Management and Emotional Health

Read Part 4: Acupuncture and the Treatment of Chronic Pain

Stress

Let’s face it, as a culture we are stressed out. Stress isn’t just bad for our mental health. When something stressful happens, hormones are released from the adrenal glands and travel all around the body. These stress hormones are designed to help get us out of a dangerous situation, e.g. run from the saber tooth tiger. Then we should relax and let the hormones fade away. For most of us, however, being on time to work, heavy traffic, or our jobs in general, are stressful events that increase those hormones on a daily basis.

Managing stress can feel like a full time job.

High levels of stress hormones can cause a wide range of negative health effects such as:

  • impaired mental functioning
  • trouble sleeping
  • increased blood pressure
  • dampened immune system
  • increase in abdominal weight gain
  • decreased muscle mass

Managing stress can feel like a full time job. Fortunately, there are ways to get your body out of this vicious cycle. As we discussed in Part 2: How Does Acupuncture Work?, Acupuncture excels in its ability to balance the body. The nervous system is no exception. Acupuncture treatment takes the body out of the fight or flight state (sympathetic nervous system) and back to the rest and digest state (parasympathetic nervous system). This transition is what’s responsible for the deep state of relaxation patients feel during and after an acupuncture treatment; practitioners call the feeling “acubliss” or being in “the acuzone”.

Anxiety and Depression

Balancing the nervous system isn’t just for stress management. Acupuncture can also be a valuable treatment for anxiety and depression. A study by the University of York in the UK found that acupuncture treatments helped combat depression. After 3 months of treatment, patients experienced improvement in their depression symptoms and were able to decrease their prescription antidepressant usage! Check back to Part 1: How Does Acupuncture Work? to learn more about how emotional health and pain correlate through the stimulated release of endorphins. 

Chinese medicine stresses the importance of balancing your emotions, because of this, we have many methods of stress reduction to help you. Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and meditation are some of the classical therapies that connect mind to body and help decrease stress but there are many more. If you’d like to learn more about how acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you feel calmer and fortified in the face of stress, click here to contact me to schedule an appointment and learn more. We can all benefit from increased resilience to stressful situations!

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