Stress Relief – The first in a series of the Top Ten Benefits of Acupuncture
Whether it’s demands from our job or personal pressures, nearly 77% of us readily admit that we have experienced physical symptoms of stress (and that’s just those of us that will admit to it, the number may be even higher!)
Some stress in your life is a positive. We’re talking the stress right before you ride a roller coaster or go on a first date stress, of course. But, when your stress becomes more long term, you start to see health issues. I’m sure you’re already aware of the signs, but if not, chronic stress can cause an array of symptoms from gastrointestinal distress to depression and personality disorders to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
In the past, Western Medicine has used pharmacology to treat these symptoms. And, in some cases, these medications are the best choice for patients who suffer from these health concerns. For those whose chronic stress hasn’t reached clinical stages yet, acupuncture has been found to be a wonderful treatment, either by itself or as an adjunct to pharmacologic therapies.
So, how does acupuncture work for reducing stress? The short version is that while stress activates the Sympathetic Nervous System, acupuncture activates the opposing Parasympathetic Nervous System causing relaxation. In other words, stress causes the feeling of “fight or flight” while acupuncture is the relaxation after the stressing event has passed.
The longer version requires a bit of knowledge about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is a complex system of healing that includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise and dietary therapy and has been used for over 3,000 years. A basic tenet of TCM is that the body’s vital energy (QI) circulates through channels called meridians, that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions. Many practitioners explain meridians as “highways of energy” moving through the body to each organ. Stress interferes with the body’s pleasing flow of energy by creating imbalances, or roadblocks if you will, within the meridians. Acupuncture improves body functioning by removing these blockages and allowing qi to flow freely again. Western Medicine has also shown that acupuncture releases endorphins, improves blood circulation and increases the oxygen level in tissues, thus patients experience a feeling of relaxation. In an article published in 2013 by the Journal of Endocrinology, researchers stated that there is a “growing body of evidence that points to acupuncture’s protective effect against the stress response.” As stated above, acupuncture may not always treat moderate or severe stress-related issues, but the evidence is clear – acupuncture can improve stress, depression and anxiety.
Are you ready to try acupuncture? Call us at 515-832-8979 to book your initial consultation and treatment with Garrett Riedemann, Shanti Rejuvenation Center’s resident acupuncturist.
And, don’t forget to check back in the coming months as we highlight more of the Top Ten Benefits of Acupuncture. Topics will include Reduced Back, Neck and Join Pain, Headache Relief, Reduced Eye Strain, Improved Immune System, Enhanced Mental Clarity and Energy, Improved Digestive Health, Allergy Relief, Reduced Cigarette Craving and Fewer Bodily Injury from Repetitive Strain.