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Stress not only makes us feel unpleasant emotionally, it can exacerbate the risk of any health condition. As an evolutionary imperative, our bodies protect us from potential predators and aggressors by flooding the bloodstream with hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Other fundamental functions such as digestion, immune and reproductive capabilities shut down, directing blood to our extremities, so if needed, we can fight what is threatening us, or run away if the threat cannot be dealt with.
Such threats are rare today, but we deal with chronic stress on a daily basis such as: multi-tasking as a parent, dealing with a tough co-worker or having a worrisome situation not being resolved. When we find ourselves in a constant state of stress, our health takes a toll over time. The constant increase in stress hormones is associated with many health problems such as a nagging headache, frequent insomnia or decreased productivity at work.
In order to maintain good health, it is necessary to manage stress on a regular basis, thereby preventing symptoms before they arise. From a Western viewpoint, stimulating specific body points with acupuncture alleviates stress by releasing endorphins—a natural pain-killing chemical in the brain that also acts as a sedative. Acupuncture also improves circulation of blood through the body, which oxygenates tissues and metabolizes cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. Its regulatory effects help bring cortisol levels back to baseline, and normalize stress hormone levels.
The following are common symptoms induced by chronic stress that we successfully treat:
Acupuncture is a great way to manage stress, but it’s not the only way. At our clinic, we also educate and encourage patients to practice regular exercise and adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits. All of these combined help prevent and reduce the need more invasive medical interventions. In addition to being healthy, patients also report feeling “euphoric” after treatments, accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.