People today are more stressed than ever before. A stress study at Carnegie Mellon University tracking 6,300 people over a 25-year period from 1983-2009 concluded that women were 18 percent more stressed, and men’s stress levels had increased by 24 percent over the time period studied.
The infographic below shows some effects of stress on the mind and body.
There are various ways to reduce stress and acupuncture is one of them.
Scientific Proof of Acupuncture’s Efficiency
Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system and helps to release natural bodily chemicals to alter biological processes. The World Health Organization published a study in 2003 reporting that acupuncture affects the body on many levels including activation of a person’s natural opioid system, stimulating electromagnetic signals, stimulating the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and altering neurotransmitters that positively influence brain chemistry. The study showed that acupuncture deactivates parts of the brain and decreases neuronal activity, so that the limbic system physically alters the body’s experience by shutting down pain and stress regions in the brain.
Releasing Stress During the Holidays
The start of the holiday season is a wonderful and busy time of year. Unchecked stress is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure. Together, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help achieve the changes you seek as they assist in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizing aches and pains, improving energy and finding balance.
As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done. Left unmanaged, however, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems. Stress causes a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. This can throw off the immune system and cause new symptoms or aggravate already troublesome health conditions and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop.
Stressful situations that last over a long period of time can create an ongoing low-level stress that puts continual pressure on the nervous system and can cause the overproduction of stress hormones such as cortisol. The extra stress hormones sustained over an extended period of time may wear out the body’s reserves, leading to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and a host of serious physical and psychological ailments.
According to Oriental medicine, stress, frustration and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off and allowing pathogens to affect the body. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself. Acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out stress hormones like cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.
In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a wide range of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your wellness plan to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home. Seasonal acupuncture treatments serve to nurture and nourish your kidney Qi, which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness and increasing vitality.
Walk Your Way to Relief
Taking a brisk walk boosts endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression.
Walking also promotes health and wellness by putting gentle pressure on an acupuncture point on the sole of the foot known as Yongquan (Bubbling Spring). This point is the start of the Kidney meridian. Stimulation of this energizing point can stabilize emotions and promote clarity of the mind, helping you to focus on your goals.
How To Stimulate Yongquan
Let your heel tap the ground gently and feel your weight transfer fully to the ball and toes of your foot. Focus on breathing into your lower abdomen. Keep your shoulders relaxed and allow your arms to swing freely.
Use your fists to strike your Yongquan about 100 times on each foot.
Gently roll a tennis ball under your foot while relaxing on the couch.