STRESS

Needle This: Studies show Acupuncture Works to Relieve Stress

All of us experience stress. It is a healthy response to events in our lives. When we are healthy and the stress is short-lived, we are usually able to recover without too much wear and tear to our overall health. When the stress is extreme, or if it lasts a long time, our emotional health and ultimately, our physical health begin to suffer.

Needles may not seem like the best tool for treating stress, but acupuncture could be tapping into basic biological systems that keep stress under control. Reporting in the Journal of Endocrinology, researchers led by Ladan Eshkevari, assistant program director of the nurse anesthesia program at Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, proves acupuncture can alter stress hormones.

In a highway system, when there is road construction or an accident, traffic may be also backed up on other secondary roads that feed into or out of the affected area. This is true in the body, too. Stress, like accident, may affect many other parts of the body, most notably digestion, the ability to sleep, pain conditions, and blood pressure. Stress can also aggravate an already troublesome health condition.

Through acupuncture, theses energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points serve as the on and off ramps to the energy highway, and can help energy flow smoothly, and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself.

From a Western viewpoint, acupuncture works to alleviate stress by releasing natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. In addition, acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.