Stress. Everybody’s got it. How do you manage it?
In our demanding world, having effective strategies to manage one’s stress is essential for well-being. Acupuncture is an easy, enjoyable way to relieve stress. “I feel so relaxed” is the #1 comment I hear from patients after their acupuncture treatments. When patients get referred to my clinic by doctors, often it is because they want help with reducing the symptoms of stress using acupuncture.
How does stress impact your health?
The stress response is a survival mechanism, designed to help us survive a threatening situation. Back in the days of hunting and gathering, those threats were short-lived, and the stress response came and went. In today’s world, stress tends to be chronic, and we stay in a state of high stress for long periods of time. This long-term stress is damaging to our health. The first thing that happens during any stress response is a hormone called cortisol is released from the adrenal glands into the body.
This starts a domino effect causing a long list of issues related to stress:
- Neck Pain
- Back pain
- Hormonal imbalances
- Irregular periods
- Thyroid issues
- Weight gain
How does acupuncture treat stress?
In Chinese medicine, stress causes a blockage to the circulation of your vital life force, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”). The body’s circulatory system consists of meridians which carry blood and qi to all parts of the body. These meridians are like highways, and stress causes a traffic jam. This congestion leads to the many symptoms of stress. Acupuncture reduces stress by placing very fine needles along the meridians, which breaks up the gridlock and gets traffic moving.
How often will I need to get acupuncture?
The good news is that you will feel better after a single acupuncture session. However, one treatment won’t be enough to relieve the symptoms of stress forever. If you have chronic stress – and the associated health problems – it will take more therapy to bring longer-lasting relief. Many patients will choose to come in for regular acupuncture visits, typically 1- 4 times a month, for wellness care and stress relief.
What else can acupuncture do for me?
In addition to relieving stress, acupuncture has many health benefits, including:
- Lessens anxiety
- Boosts fertility
- Reduces pain
- Improves sleep
- Supports women’s health
All in all, acupuncture is a great way to reduce your stress and improve your health, and acupuncture integrates easily with your conventional western health care.
Leslie Oldershaw is a licensed acupuncturist and a fellow of The American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Leslie established The Oldershaw Clinic in 1995 in Piedmont, CA. The clinic provides integrative health care specializing in fertility and women’s health.