43% of All Adults Suffer From Negative Effects of Stress and Symptoms Associated With Stress
Stress blocks Qi. Acupuncture moves Qi. It’s a simple formula. What is Qi? How does stress block your Qi? How does acupuncture help? Here are some reasons that you and most everyone you know can benefit from acupuncture treatment.
What is Qi?
Qi is energy. For our hearts to beat, our cells to regenerate, our joints to move, etc. we need energy. For anything to move, it needs energy, a motivating force. Traditional Chinese medicine calls that energy or motivating force, Qi. Qi is the energy that motivates all of the functions of your body. Qi runs through your body like a freeway. There are several channels, or pathways, that run from your head to your toes and connect in many ways. Along those pathways, there are points which allow acupuncturists to access your body’s energy.
In short, acupuncture accesses your body’s natural healing abilities, which is directly connected to how smoothly your Qi flows. When your Qi is flowing, thus flows your life. When your Qi is blocked, thus flows your life.
What Symptoms Are Caused By Stress?
When you experience continuous challenges without relief or relaxation in between, you experience stress and lack of Qi flow. Continuous stress causes symptoms, pain or disease. Symptoms of stress can include: headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases. Stress that isn’t relieved can contribute to more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Other common conditions associated with stress include:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
- Skin conditions
- Overeating or undereating
- Drug or alcohol abuse
75% – 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
How acupuncture helps relieve stress by unblocking your Qi
Acupuncture helps relieve stress by alleviating the signs and symptoms associated with stress, and it can treat the root cause of the problem. We can’t avoid stress. It’s a part of life. However, there is positive stress and negative stress. Like everything in life, the key is finding a balance. In this case, the balance is increasing the positive stressors (without overexerting) and decreasing the negative stressors.
Perhaps you’re sighing, knowing that your negative stress is your job, and you can’t change that. Or, you’re unhappy in your relationship, and you can’t change that. Or, you want a bigger home, and you can’t afford that. All of those “can’t” statements come from blocked Qi and create more blocked Qi. It’s cyclical. You’re unhappy, you start to get stressed, your Qi gets blocked, you get more stressed, Qi becomes more blocked, more stress … How can you get out of your energetic rut when you don’t know where it began, and you believe there is no opening for change?
Regular acupuncture treatments can provide that opening. It relieves the blocks, so you can see more clearly the opportunities for change. Here’s the rub: once you start seeing these opportunities, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay in your safe cycle of “can’ts.” You start to change. The good part is that the change is gradual, and it happens as you’re ready. My experience is that acupuncture with and/or without herbal medicine is the most direct way to unblock the energy pathways in your body.
Research from the U.K.
If you need some scientific research, following is an excerpt on stress and acupuncture from www.acupuncture.org.uk.
References: Health and Safety Executive, 2011.Stress-related and psychological illness [online]. NHS Choices, 2011. Stress Management.
A new animal study showed that rats pre-treated with acupuncture had no spike in stress-associated hormones after being exposed to chronic stress. On the contrary, rats that received no treatment or a sham acupuncture treatment had higher levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) along with other stress hormones.
Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically benefit anxiety disorders and symptoms of anxiety by:
- Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010; Hui 2009);
- Improving stress induced memory impairment and an increasing AchE reactivity in the hippocampus (Kim 2011);
- Reducing serum levels of corticosterone and the number of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cells (Park 2010);
- Regulating levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH; hence altering the brain’s mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states (Lee 2009; Cheng 2009; Zhou 2008);
- Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system (Arranz 2007). Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response;
- Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with stress reactions (Arranz 2007);
- Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003);
- Reversing stress-induced changes in behavior and biochemistry (Kim 2009).