Your journey to better health

Acupuncture and Stress

Acupuncture and Stress

Stress comes in many forms - work, family, hormonal changes, illness, major life changes, and on and on. While some of these changes may be positive, the stress associated with them can interfere with your health and happiness. Having a new baby, changing to a better job, moving to a better place are all good changes, but are still stressful!  

In TCM theory, the Liver is the main energetic organ (remember, this is not your internal organ we're talking about, but rather an energy system in your body) that is responsible for ensuring smooth movement of energy in the body.  Stress impairs the Liver's ability to direct the flow of energy and blood within the body, leading to a condition we call stagnation. This blockage needs to be moved in order to help the Liver energy alleviate stress and it's associated symptoms.  

Common symptoms of stress include:
  1. Anger or irritability
  2. Depression and anxiety
  3. Feeling "stuck" or "in a rut"
  4. Insomnia
  5. Irregular menstrual cycle, including PMS, irritability, bloating and breast distention
  6. Headaches (these can be tension or migraine)
  7. Gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, constipation or a combination of the two, as in IBS)

By using very small needles at specific points to move energy and blood, acupuncture activates the body's ability to move stagnation or blockages.  The process also releases endorphins within the brain - this has a very relaxing effect on the body, and many patients fall asleep while the needles are in!  Most people complaining of stress before an acupuncture treatment feel immediately better afterwards, and many maintain this feeling of relief for days or even weeks.

Other tips we like to give our stressed out patients include:

  • Regular exercise 5-6 days per week can help to move the energy in the body. Even a 30 minute walk will do the trick.
  • Learn deep breathing techniques, or take a meditation or Qigong class.
  • Try to avoid fried or greasy foods, pastries, white bread, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Choose an assortment of veggies, whole grains, and drink plenty of water.

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