Stress is the foundation for many health problems. Manage your stress and you’ll have better heart and brain health, you’ll likely have less physical pain, more energy, better sleep, and a wide range of health benefits.
Of course, stress is a natural part of life, and particularly in the context of a global pandemic, many of us are experiencing heightened levels of stress. So then, it is even more important to find ways to manage stress to ensure holistic well-being. Can acupuncture help?
As you may or may not know, a growing body of scientific research supports acupuncture for the treatment of a variety of symptoms and illnesses from migraines, allergies, and pain to menopausal symptoms, immune functioning, and even stress.
Taking a big picture perspective, acupuncture is an ancient practice in Chinese medicine said to regulate Qi – essentially energy that flows throughout the body. When the flow of Qi is unobstructed, we experience better overall health; but injury, poor nutrition, and wide range of ailments can disturb the flow of Qi. Stress is one factor that can disrupt the balance of Qi to create the context for poorer health. Acupuncture helps to restore the balance and flow of Qi.
From a western medial perspective, acupuncture is thought to reduce stress by slowing the production of stress hormones. Evidence is mounting for acupuncture in treating a wide range of mental health conditions associated with a malfunctioning stress response; for example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America supports acupuncture in the treatment of anxiety. Additionally, researchers are finding that acupuncture treatments for stress may provide relief for up to three months after treatment.
Another benefit of acupuncture for stress is that there are relatively few side effects, and certainly the side effects of acupuncture are not severe. Many of the medications that are prescribed to manage depression and anxiety are associated with a host of unfortunate side effects, whereas the main side effects of acupuncture are soreness at needle insertion points.
For the most part, this soreness passes quickly, and many people do not notice any ill effects from acupuncture at all. Otherwise, minor bleeding or bruising at the needle insertion points may also occur, but the treatment is considered safe and effective.
Remember, stress is a big part of our daily lives and while acupuncture can be helpful, it should be considered in combination with other activities to manage stress. Regular exercise, good nutrition, and proper sleep are fundamental lifestyle factors that contribute to lower stress levels. Indeed, acupuncture is just one other strategy to add to your routines for managing stress and maintaining optimal health in your body, mind, and spirit.