Acupuncture for Stress and Anxiety? Yes, please!
Is stress good or bad? How does it affect our minds and bodies? How can acupuncture help?
75% of adults experience moderate to high levels of stress.
Stress and anxiety are rampant in our modern lifestyle. Many of us accept it as a normal part of life. In fact, 75% of adults have moderate to high levels of stress. Nearly half said that their stress has increased in the past year.
“Good stress” helps you meet your next deadline. The rush of adrenaline and increased blood sugar (to fuel your cells) helps you run across the finish line at your half marathon. This ancient evolutionary mechanism of “fight or flight” is what keeps us safe.
But once the “threat” has passed, our body returns to equilibrium. Our heart rate and blood pressure normalizes, blood sugar falls back down, and our breathing calms. Ah, homeostasis!
Chronic stress causes pain, insomnia, digestive problems, and more…
But what happens when the “threat” doesn’t go away? Nowadays, our bodies are under constant stress, not allowing our body to return to equilibrium. Chronic stress can cause headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, infertility, and a variety of emotional conditions.
In the long-term, it increases your chances of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and a host of other conditions.
Acupuncture lowers stress, and helps with anxiety and depression.
So how can acupuncture help with stress? A study shows that receiving acupuncture lowers cortisol levels, and lessens anxiety and depression through behavioral tests. Acupuncture decreases activity in the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, which is in charge of the stress response.
Aside from the clear physiological mechanisms acupuncture has to combat stress, having a weekly oasis is your way of telling your body “Hey! This is your time to rest.” My patients always walk out of the clinic relaxed and calm, no matter what they come in with. We call it the “acu-high.”
A word of advice
Keep in mind that acupuncture is a spoke in the wheel of the East Asian medical system. This means that when you work with a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac), he or she may also prescribe herbs / supplements, and offer lifestyle and nutritional counseling.
A good acupuncturist will treat you, not your symptoms. So not only will your stress improve, but all aspects of your life such as sleep, digestion, pain, and energy.
About the Author
Sai Jurawanichkul, a licensed acupuncturist, believes in living, teaching, and practicing wholistic medicine, which fosters a cooperative relationship among all facets of health such as physiology, emotion, spirit, nutrition, and lifestyle.