Everyone experiences stress in different ways. For some, it presents with tightness in the neck and shoulders. For others, it comes in the form of chronic headaches. And still for others, stress may manifest with chronic digestive disturbances, such as acid reflux or irritable bowel. In any event, the body is telling you that it is not happy. Stress hormones such as cortisone are elevated making the body believe that it is in fight or flight mode. There is an urgency and tension in the body that remains long after the stressful situation has passed. When this is the case for so many people on an ongoing basis, all kinds of health issues may arise. The body actually forgets what it is to be at ease and at peace.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are able to address the body in a variety of ways as stress begins to take hold and alter the homeostasis that it once established. Chinese Medicine views the body as having a dynamic energy system that travels along specific pathways. When stress occurs the flow of “qi” (pronounced chee) or energy of the body becomes disrupted. When blockages happen, the result is often painful and uncomfortable. The use of fine, threadlike needles inserted near areas of discomfort, can promote the release of endorphins, open blockages, and promote a sense of well-being.
A 2012 study on acupuncture and stress followed medical students reporting high levels of stress. The study found that 75% of participants reported various symptoms of stress were alleviated after electro-acupuncture treatments. They reported that they had better sleep, were less depressive, and had a more positive outlook than prior to the acupuncture study.
While there are many ways to address the onslaught of stressers that occur for so many of us on a daily basis, acupuncture can be a useful, relaxing way to bring the body back to a place of ease and comfort. After an acupuncture treatment, the blood pressure goes down, there is increased blood flow, and the body is reminded that it can indeed stop protecting and begin to relax.
You can find more information about acupuncture here or contact Mary Pat Finley, LAc at