Health scientists and doctors are now learning the factors that prove emotional stress contributes in a huge to the development of certain diseases and illnesses. Human physiology is intimately related to emotional well being and when a person’s emotions and thoughts are in disharmony, the body reacts to it by sending out cortisol and other stress hormones in the bloodstream that impacts homeostatic balance in an adverse way. This lowers our body’s defense mechanisms, disrupts our normal sleep patterns, damages our endocrine health, makes us vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases and lowers our ability to think clearly. Immune system problems, gastrointestinal disorders, cardiopulmonary disease, hypertension, and even cancer have been associated with this pathological process all thanks to emotional stress.
Is Acupuncture an Effective Treatment for Stress?
Most of the time patients who have undergone acupuncture say that it helps them feel relaxed and calm. It is common for patients to experience these benefits. They say that during an acupuncture procedure, it feels that negative energy is escaping their body. Furthermore, along with this release of negative energy, the feeling of creativity and improved stamina is also experienced.
Herbal Medicine for Stress
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners and acupuncturists have been using herbs for thousands of years as a way to relieve depression and anxiety. Considering that these herbs are all natural, they are much safer to use than Western pharmaceutical products.
How Stress is Relieved Through Acupuncture
The main goal of acupuncture treatment is to regulate the movement of vital energy known as Qi. Acupuncture can provide a person with a number of beneficial effects. They include wound tissue regeneration, energy boost, immune system modulation, and lower blood pressure and heart rate. Acupuncture helps a person experience tranquility and calmness even when he is under severe state of stress.
Recent studies have demonstrated that needling specific acupoints can initiate complex chemical processes inside the body. These processes can include increased production of Substance P, adrenocorticotropic (ACTH) hormone, serotonin, met-enkephalin, beta-endorphin and other kinds of neurotransmitters. They all help in neutralzing and reducing cortisol buildup in the body as well as restoring the brain’s neuro-chemical balance.
How Do All of These Matter to Me?
Depression and anxiety can always be resolved with acupuncture. These two negative emotions can have serious repercussions for individuals having difficulties coping with work-related, social, and domestic problems. Acupuncture can provide a sense of self-confidence and well-being in a person and it definitely is a superior choice over antidepressants, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills. This treatment is utilized in several instances not only as an alternative to medications but also to resolve dependence and side effects brought by drug use. In fact there are patients who come in for treatment just to rid themselves of dependence from the antidepressants they are needlessly taking; however, this is done only after they have been advised by their doctor. A growing amount of evidence reveals that acupuncture significantly lessens the person’s intake of medications such as Prozac.
Acupuncture is a very good way to help the mind and body rid of stress. It is also a very safe type of treatment. But it needs to be pointed out that only the individual himself can steer his life towards a certain direction where stress can be experienced to a significantly lesser degree. If we look at life as one that is fraught with tension or we look at it more as an adventure, then our body will respond accordingly to how we perceive life. One other good thing about acupuncture is that it is a very welcome tool that can help us cope with the unpleasant and heartbreaking aspects of life. We can also include other stress reducing therapies such as spiritual practice, counseling, Qi Gong, and meditation as tools that can help liberate our minds and bodies to the oppressive influence of stress.
Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.