We all deal with stress, from the regular everyday kind caused by things like running late for an interview or getting a deadline moved up, to the panic-inducing kind that comes with an unexpected health or financial crisis.
Under normal conditions, feeling stressed can be a healthy and helpful bodily reaction, giving us a heightened sense of awareness and the extra energy needed to help us cope with a given situation. However, an extended stressful situation or the constant pressure to perform can sometimes be crippling, overwhelming the nervous system and leading to adrenal exhaustion, especially acute or chronic illnesses. Chronic inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s, IBS), arthritis (rheumatoid or osteoarthritis), diabetes, weight gain, and many others will put constant demands on cortisol production and eventually exhaust the stress response system.
Stress management is very important to overall health, and acupuncture is a proven method of treatment.
As those who already reap the benefits of acupuncture know, this Chinese healing art involves the insertion of tiny needles into strategic points of the body to regulate the flow of Qi and allow the body to function at optimum levels. It is commonly used to address joint pain, headaches, allergies and other ongoing issues without medicines or surgeries, or as a complement to mainstream treatment.
In much the same way it addresses chronic pain issues, acupuncture can be a useful therapy for issues of stress and anxiety. Acupuncture can not only trigger the reduction in levels of cortisol released by the adrenal glands during stressful times, it can initiate the production of the body’s own painkilling chemicals and positively stimulate the emotion center of the brain.
And unlike with talk therapy and many medications commonly prescribed for anxiety, patients can notice a difference with just one treatment as acupuncture improves circulation, lowers heart rate and blood pressure and helps the energy flow more smoothly, leaving them instantly more calm and relaxed. Results are shown to be even better with continued treatment, and unlike prescription medications, there are no risks of dependency or side effects, except perhaps light bruising.
It’s true that acupuncture, or your acupuncturist, can’t remove the stressful situations, people and things in your life, but it can give you back some control over how you handle them.