People think that stress is all about the mind. Stress can actually also originate in the body, especially when the muscles become tight because of fatigue or injury, causing poor blood flow and pain to the areas where the muscles are tense. Stress can cause a “fight or flight” reaction in the body that should last only when the body perceives it is in danger. If the stress symptoms linger on after the danger is long gone, then it becomes a health problem. There are two kinds of stress conditions or symptoms: Behavioral stress symptoms and Physical stress symptoms..
Behavioral Stress Symptoms
Behavioral stress symptoms are manifestations of stress affecting your thinking. Some examples of this type of stress include inability to concentrate, difficulty making decisions, being cranky all the time and having feelings of anger. Being easily irritated at things or people is also a behavioral symptom of stress. People with severe stress can also feel like crying many times in the day or feel anxiety. Behavioral symptoms of stress can also be seen in fatigue (even after sleeping), nail biting or feeling pressured about things like work or decisions.
Physical Stress Symptoms
Physical stress symptoms often manifest in health conditions. Some of these conditions include constipation, nausea, impotence, menstrual problems, sweating, hair loss, back and neck pain, frequent colds and flu, poor circulation, muscle cramps and spasms, shaking, nervous tapping, stomach cramps, headaches, chest pain and even palpitations.
About 75% of visits to the doctor are because of the health effects caused by stress. Many of the leading causes of death have been stress-related, which include cancer, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, suicide and lung conditions.
Acupuncture for Stress
Stress induces your body’s fight or flight reaction. A hormone called cortisol is produced and released in the blood stream and this causes the person to become fatigued, depressed and frustrated. It also causes sleeping problems, tightness in the shoulder and neck muscles, anxiety and pain in various parts of the body, including bowel’s syndrome, premenstrual symptoms in women, migraines and headaches among many others. These problems raise blood pressure and lead to a weak immune system.
Acupuncture stimulates the muscles and tissues in a person with extreme stress and this helps with the movement of blood and Qi. Acupuncture activates the brain to produce and release stress-suppressing hormones like serotonin and endorphins that leads to a deep relaxing sensation in the mind that relieves stress. It also balances cortisol levels in the blood and washes away toxins by enhancing blood flow. Acupuncture lessens sympathetic nerve activity that lowers blood pressure and slows down heart beat rate.
In just one session, a patient can feel very relaxed. Many people fall asleep during the treatment session. Acupuncture therapy for stress provides excellent results with calming the adrenals and revitalizing the mind. Acupuncture increases muscle movement, lessening stiffness and tension thus treating pain in the shoulders, neck and other body parts. It improves blood flow to the tissues of the body, providing more oxygen to enhance function. A nutritious and healthy diet, meditation, yoga, and massage also aid in stress relief.
Sadly, a lot of people fear needles and are hesitant to try acupuncture. The truth is, however, that sensations vary but many people find that acupuncture needles do not cause any pain at all; instead a slight sensation may be felt for an instant when inserted into the skin. When looking for a Vancouver acupuncturist ensure that they are a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine.
If your stress level is affecting your way of life, don’t put off making changes or getting help, because the longer you wait the worse it gets. Click here to request a FREE 15-minute Consultation with one of our acupuncturists. It’s a no obligation consultation, so you have nothing to lose.
Photo credit: bottled_void
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver. She is also a Registered Herbologist and the founder of BodaHealth.