Our society and culture is in a chronic hyperstress situation – always busy, scheduled, in financial debt, often without the support structures a family or community used to offer. Many are in a constant “fight or flight” mode with adrenalines and other stress hormones at elevated levels.
What is Stress?
Stress can be defined as the brain’s response to any exterior or interior demand. Our bodies are hardwired to help us respond to stressful events. This response goes back to our ancient ancestors; in the wild we needed this reaction response to stay alive. This repose is called the fight or Flight response. Our sympathetic nervous system kicks in when there is a sign of a threat. Unfortunetly, this ‘fight or flight response doesn’t serve the right purpose anymore as we are no longing living in the wild being hunted by big monsters.
How does stress affect the body?
Over time a constant chronic state of stress can take its burdens on ones body. The chronic state of stress elevates the hormone called cortisol in our body. Cortisol is our body’s stress hormone. This chronic state of stress will increase ones blood pressure and suppress ones immune system and digestive systems functions. The impact on the body over time will develop increasing severity of the symptoms. Without proper treatment and coping mechanisms, the body will continue to shift out of balance and can develop into more sever ailments such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, tension headaches and digestive problems.
The TCM Perspective
Stress, depression, anxiety, and any other strong emotion disrupts the smooth flow of Qi (energy) though out the body. In the TCM theory, Qi (energy) flows through our entire body through a network (meridians). These networks of Qi are like roads. When our bodies are affect with stress, anxiety, depression or any other strong emotion it disturbs the free flow of Qi (energy) in the body, similar to a traffic jam. Many people complain of upper back pain, shoulder tension and pain and neck pain when they are very stressed out. This is because there is Qi (energy) stagnation and blockages in these areas from the stress. If left untreated this tightness and pain can develop into headaches, TMJ, and other problems. Stress will affect many parts of the body, our emotions, our minds and our behaviors on daily basis. Some of the areas affected by stress is digestion, problems sleeping, pain conditions, and elevated blood pressure. Stress can aggravate pre-existing health conditions as well.
Acupuncture is a great tool to helping the body focus in on these energy blockages and helps the body get back to its homeostasis state. Acupuncture can help Qi (energy) flow smoothly and alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, sleeping issues. Acupuncture works by triggering endorphins in the brain, the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals. Acupuncture also improves circulation throughout the body and helps cycle out cortisol and other waist chemicals. Acupuncture is also good at decreasing heart rate, lowering blood pressure and relaxing the tenense, ligaments and muscles.
Read more here on 7 ways to reduce stress