May Newsletter: Does Acupuncture Reduce Stress?

Stressed out woman needs some acupuncture.

Wondering if Acupuncture Can Lower Your Stress Level?

Feeling stressed by job or relationship issues, family responsibilities, or money worries? Acupuncture offers an effective natural solution for stress and anxiety and may even help you lower your risk of several stress-related health conditions.

Why Relieving Stress Is Crucial

Headaches, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, indigestion, and fatigue aren't the only physical effects of stress. When you're stressed, your body increases production of cortisol, a stress hormone that can help you face challenging situations. Normally, the increase in cortisol is only temporary. Unfortunately, your cortisol level may remain high if you're constantly stressed.

Chronic stress raises your risk for serious health conditions, including:

  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Stroke

Although any long period of stress can increase your risk, chronic stress that started when you were a teenager may make you more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity, according to a research study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2024.

Study participants who experienced stress through their teen years into adulthood were more likely to have worse blood vessel health, higher body fat, more fat around the abdomen, and an increased risk of obesity as an adult.

Lowering Your Stress Level with Acupuncture

Yin and Yang, opposing forces that must remain balanced for good health, can become unstable due to stress and anxiety. Imbalances can occur if the flow of Qi becomes blocked. Qi is a type of energy that moves through your body and supports mental and physical health.

Acupuncture treatments restore the normal flow of Qi within a person's body, reducing stress and anxiety. During treatments, your acupuncturist inserts a series of thin needles in your skin at precise points on your body. The treatments clear blockages and offer these stress-busting benefits:

  • Lower Cortisol Level. Do you constantly feel nervous and on edge? A high cortisol level could be to blame. Acupuncture lowers your cortisol level, helping you feel calmer. In a research study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice in 2022, study participants had less anxiety and lower salivary cortisol levels after five sessions of acupuncture and electroacupuncture. During electroacupuncture, a mild electrical current attached to the acupuncture needles to enhance the treatment.
  • No Need for Pain Pills. Keeping your pain under control can be a never-ending task when you have stress-related headaches. Although ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium can dull pain, these over-the-counter drugs may also cause upset stomachs and might harm your health if you take too much of them. Reducing stress with acupuncture decreases your reliance on pain pills and helps you avoid potential health risks.
  • Better Mood. As your acupuncturist inserts the hair-thin needles into your skin, your body produces more endorphins and serotonin. These feel-good hormones improve your mood and help you relax.
  • Positive Effect on the Brain and Nervous System. Acupuncture calms the somatosensory cortex, the brain's stress control center. Treatments also help your parasympathetic nervous system engage the relaxation response.
  • Improved Sleep. Sleepless nights can be a problem when you're worrying about an argument with your significant other or an unexpected bill. Thanks to the calming effects of acupuncture, you'll feel relaxed and ready to sleep. Ten sessions of acupuncture resulted in better sleep quality and reduced insomnia severity in a research study published in Nature and Science of Sleep in 2021.

Ready to find out if acupuncture can help you keep stress and anxiety under control? Contact our office to schedule an appointment with the acupuncturist.


American Heart Association: Childhood Stress Linked to Higher Risk of High Blood Pressure, Obesity, Diabetes in Adults, 1/17/2024

Nature and Science of Sleep: Impact of Acupuncture on Sleep and Comorbid Symptoms for Chronic Insomnia: A Randomized Clinical Trial, 10/10/2021

Science Direct: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice: Electroacupuncture and Acupuncture in the Treatment of Anxiety – A Double Blinded Randomized Parallel Clinical Trial, 2/2022

EXCLI Journal: The Impact of Stress on Body Function: A Review, 7/21/2017

Psychology Today: Acupuncture for Stress and Depression? Yes, Please!, 9/28/2015


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