Thursday, August 10, 2017

Feeling Stressed? Try Acupuncture for Emotional and Physical Wellbeing

Stress is synonymous with modern life: between juggling work, finances, family, our social lives and more, stress tends to accumulate and manifest itself in physical ways. However, many of us simply get used to living in a constantly stressed state, believing it to be the norm. Prolonged stress can be extremely harmful for the body in the long run, potentially leading to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Other health issues like insomnia, weight gain, migraines or chronic fatigue can all be as a result of stress, meaning its vital to have the problem addressed early.

Acupuncture for Stress
Acupuncture for Stress
Whether you are a student, full time office worker, business-owner or stay-at-home parent, stress can damage your emotional and physical wellbeing. Those seeking a natural remedy to stress can try a combination of techniques, such as meditation, herbal teas and of course, acupuncture.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice, where specific points in the body are stimulated with fine needles along lines of energy, known as meridians. By stimulating the flow of energy (qi), the body’s balance can be restored. In Western medical terms, the central nervous system is stimulated by the needles, resulting in the release of hormones and chemicals that allow the body to repair itself.
This makes acupuncture an effective solution for stress, as the stimulation from the needles releases endorphins, a natural pain-killing chemical. Acupuncture also improves blood flow, oxygenating the body’s tissues and disposing of waste chemicals like cortisol. Some even find the process of acupuncture itself calming, which decreases your heart rate, lowers blood pressure and counteracts tension in the body right there on the acupuncture table.
This is backed up by scientific studies, with researchers finding that “acupuncture blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the sympathetic NPY pathway (the fight or flight response)”. The same study also found that acupuncture can have a protective effect against stress, indicating that acupuncture is effective against stress in the short-term, long-term and as a preventative measure.  
From the process of relaxing on the acupuncture table and allowing your breathing to deepen to the long-lasting effects of acupuncture on your nervous system, acupuncture has been shown to be a holistic, natural way of tackling chronic stress and its associated health problems.
If you have decided to seek out acupuncture treatment for your stress, opt for an acupuncturist that has experience in managing stress and other mental health conditions, and also understands the intertwined nature of stress, digestive health and other aspects of physical and emotional wellbeing. 
When starting out with acupuncture, it is recommended to begin with 8 sessions. You can expect to start feeling better after the first session. Once positive results are achieved after the initial treatment, you can move to a maintenance schedule where sessions are more spaced out.

Stress Treatment
Stress Treatment
In addition to seeking regular acupuncture treatments, it is also important to manage your stress and reduce sources of stress. Some ways include:
  • Staying active: Exercise, yoga and martial arts allow you to have an outlet for your stress, burning off your worries. Exercise releases endorphins throughout your body and allows for healthy circulation, thereby lowering your stress levels and potentially counteracting health problems caused by stress such as heart disease.
  • Mindful hobbies: By taking on hobbies that allow for peace and quiet, you can help to lower your stress levels. Some ideas include meditation, journaling, reading, playing an instrument or knitting.
  • Getting quality sleep: Prioritise your sleep – trying to function on inadequate sleep will only add to your stress.
  • Eating well: Your diet affects your overall mood, immune system and ability to cope with stress. Complex carbs allow the body to release serotonin, fatty fish supresses stress hormones and crunchy foods like carrots give you an outlet for expressing your stress, making them all great foods to work into your diet.
  • Learn to say no: When your social or work calendar is already packed, be comfortable with saying no. It’s okay to let friends know that you have too much on your plate to go out on a weeknight, or tell your boss that you can’t take on any more projects.
  • Avoid negativity: People who are always stressing you out by unloading their issues or negativity on you are not worth keeping around. Focus on yourself, and only allow positive people into your life.