Stress Relief with Acupuncture
Stress. We all have it to some degree. With today’s hectic lifestyle of work, family and social demands it is virtually impossible to avoid. The problem though is how we handle it once it starts to negatively affect us. At some point many of us have experienced stress physically. It may manifest as headaches, migraines, stomach pains, fatigue, body aches, poor appetite, irregular bowel patterns and even weight gain among other symptoms. Many times we will also have frustration, anger, irritability or even feelings of sadness or melancholy.
Modern medicine has shown us that stress leads to the release of adrenaline and cortisol which are hormones secreted by the adrenal glands. The release of small amounts of cortisol is crucial for good health. However prolonged elevated cortisol levels can have devastating effects on our health. Chronic stress can cause high levels and is associated with high blood pressure, a decrease in immune function, blood sugar imbalance, an impaired thyroid, a decrease in both muscle tissue and bone density, sleep disturbances, and a variety of digestive problems. Not surprisingly people often find themselves taking strong prescription medications to manage their stress and the effects it has on them.
So how can we manage stress effectively without the fear of side effects?
Unfortunately most of us do not have an effective and healthy way to cope with it. Thankfully Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine, can be extremely effective for both physical and emotional symptoms. TCM tells us that chronic stress can significantly affect the flow of Qi (our own energy) in our bodies by slowing it down or even causing a blockage. A blockage or inhibition of Qi flow can lead to any of the above mentioned symptoms. A smooth and free flow is required to alleviate the symptoms. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help us achieve and maintain that.
A trained and licensed acupuncturist can choose specific acupuncture points along certain meridians or pathways to remove the blockage and allow the body to return to its normal state. Chinese herbs can also play a significant role in treatment. Herbal formulas are extremely effecting in removing blockages as well as supporting the associated organs and body systems. Many times herbal remedies are prescribed with acupuncture treatments.
Let’s face it, we live in a stressful and chaotic society. Of course acupuncture and TCM will not eliminate those external stressors from our lives. However, it does provide an excellent approach to allow our minds and bodies a way to cope with the physical and emotional effects of the stress.
~by Jill Pahl A.P. 3/1/2012
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