It seems everyone is stressed these days. It’s enough that every day life events are stressful, but when there are disturbing events happening all around us like natural disasters, politics around the elections, and hate crimes, our emotions can simply overwhelm us. And guess what, it’s November already, and for some the anticipation of stress during the holiday season can easily send us over the tipping point to a feeling of being out of control. I am seeing more and more people at the clinic for stress related concerns like anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestive issues and a number of other symptoms. You may need time out!
The sympathetic nervous system, which activates the “fight or flight” response, is there to help us defend ourselves and keep ourselves safe. However, our nervous system does not know the difference between hearing about a natural disaster or other news event in another state from one that is happening directly to us. Our nervous systems tend to react the same. And it seems like every day there is something else coming at us that triggers our fight or flight response, so we are on high alert most of the time. Our parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and relax” part of our nervous system – doesn’t get engaged enough to balance it out. As a result, our body produces too much cortisol over a long period of time and that can cause a host of issues from digestive problems, weight gain and increased blood sugar to pain, depression, and insomnia. Some research even shows that constant stress ages us more quickly.
Acupuncture regulates the nervous system and also regulates the hormones to lessen those “fight or flight” hormones and to release the “feel good” hormones. The use of acupuncture has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety levels and stress in individuals. Studies have found that acupuncture relieved symptoms such as migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain resulting from post traumatic stress. The improvements due to acupuncture were also found to be very rapid, significant, and long lasting. I’ve had patients tell me they are better able to handle stressful situations after having acupuncture treatments.
Finding ways to manage stress so that you are better able to cope when something triggers your fight or flight response is key. I know it’s not always feasible to get to the clinic when this happens, so here are some ways you can manage the stress yourself. Continue reading