Acupuncture And Stress – The On-going Debate

There is a running debate between acupuncture and stress in medical circles. At one time or another, all of us encounter stress. These feelings are a healthy response to happenings in our lives that may feel beyond our control. We are usually able to recuperate without too much wear and tear to our comprehensive health when we are in good shape and the stress is short-lived. However, when the stress is extreme, or if it lasts for a long time, our emotional health and ultimately, our physical health begin to suffer.

Our bodies are hardwired to assist us to react to stressful events. At the initial sign of a threat, whether real or perceived, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in and facilitates what is called the “fight or flight” response. Our heart rate increases, our pupils expand, and our digestion briefly shuts down, telling blood to our edges, to make sure that if be needed, we can possibly fight what is threatening us, or run and turn if the threat is too formidable.

Regrettably, the “fight or flight” response that performed effectively in Neanderthal days does not serve us in the modern times as well if the “threat” is a challenging boss, unpleasant co-worker or even a burdensome situation that is not being dealt with. More often than not, the stress in our lives is long-term, and as a result, we find ourselves in a regular state of “fight or flight”, or stress. In time, the regular state of stress takes its toll. Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone increases, blood pressure increases, and our immune function are suppressed. In time, these indicators worsen and can develop into anxiety, depression, fatigue, digestive problems, and tension headaches.

Oriental Explanation On Acupuncture And Stress

In Oriental medicine, stress, depression, anxiety, or any kind of strong feeling interrupts the smooth flow of energy throughout the body. According to Chinese medical theory, energy circulates through our body by means of a network of “roads”, almost like a highway system. Stress, anger, or any strong feeling acts like a roadblock, blocking the free flow of energy in the body. For example, lots of people who are very burnt out experience upper back, shoulder and neck pain. This is because stress is causing tension in those areas, blocking the free flow of energy, causing pain, tightness, and often leading to headaches.

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 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 obstructions might be dealt with. Acupuncture points function as the on and off ramps to the energy highway, and can assist energy flow efficiently, and minimize not only the warning signs of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself.

Relationship Between Acupuncture And Stress

Acupuncture works to alleviate stress by discharging natural pain-killing chemical substance in the brain, called endorphins. In addition, acupuncture strengthens circulation of blood throughout the body, which aerates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and some other waste chemicals. The soothing nature of acupuncture also reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. Until now, studies on acupuncture and stress are still on-going because of its different health benefits.