These days, most people experience a level of diminished physical and mental health due to stress. Detecting the sources of stress may be easy, but identifying and applying simple, effective solutions pose more challenges. Fortunately, acupuncture offers one such solution.
How Does Stress Affect the Body?
This technique has been honed over thousands of years into the precise method that we see today. By restoring the natural flow and balance of Qi (pronounced "chee"), acupuncturists can promote health and healing in any part of the body. Qi refers to the life force that permeates the human body; if it becomes blocked, overly concentrated, or deficient in one region, this can cause troublesome symptoms or exacerbate the body's reaction to stress. Thus, an acupuncturist's job is to stimulate specific points on the skin to enhance the movement of Qi and promote balance within the overall system.
How Does It Relieve Stress?
When Qi flows freely, it can dissipate stressful reactions and promote calmness and relaxation. Acupuncture takes advantage of this mind-body connection by treating the entire system rather than just one component such as tension headaches or a stomach ulcer.
In addition, when Qi remains free-flowing through the body, several aspects of health become strengthened:
* Immune system–less vulnerability to colds and other illnesses
* Sleep–smoother, more restful sleep patterns
* Hormones–more regulated and moderated hormonal release patterns
* Cardiovascular system–less long-term susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases
* Diabetes–lower long-term risk of diabetes due to improved regulation of blood sugar and metabolism
Some acupuncturists also combine acupuncture with massage or other Eastern techniques to create a more relaxing environment and to obtain optimal results. Whether used in conjunction with complementary treatments or alone, the very act of acupuncture stimulates the release of "feel-good" hormones such as endorphins, which immediately boosts mood and relaxation.
In many cases, patients feel significantly more relaxed after each session. This calm state of mind carries over into the following days' activities and modulates the body's response to stressful situations. If only one session can reduce harmful responses to stress for several days, just imagine how well regular treatments can equip a patient for handling long-term stress.
Stress and Relaxation (2012). Acupuncture for Stress and Anxiety Relief.