Stress & Anxiety

Acupuncture works at a physical, emotional and spiritual level. For this reason, it is effective in relieving stress and anxiety, both of which can have emotional and physical symptoms. They are two of the 30 common conditions which the W.H.O. recognises acupuncture for its effectiveness in treating.

Symptoms experienced might include insomnia, tiredness, digestive or eating issues, inability to think clearly or focus, pain in shoulders or lower back, palpitations, skin problems, headache, weight game or weight loss, sweating, or other symptoms.

From a Western medical perspective, it is known that various hormones are secreted by the body into the bloodstream in response to stress. Acupuncture alleviates stress through the release of natural chemicals in the brain which target killing pain. These chemicals are called endorphins, the brain’s natural “feel good” chemicals. Similarly, researchers have shown that acupuncture induces chemical changes in parts of the brain which reduce anxiety.

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, stress and anxiety are, like any health condition, seen as a blockage in the flow of “Qi” (vital energy) and acupuncture can help to undo this blockage. The “Qi” flows in pathways called Channels or Meridians throughout the body and it is affected by our emotions as much as it is by external factors. The mind and body are regarded as “one”, rather than being separate, and each can affect the other either emotionally or physically. Each body organ is associated with an emotion, as well as a function in Chinese medicine and any disharmony can result in stress or anxiety. For example, the Spleen is associated with worry and overthinking, the Kidney with fear, the Liver with frustration and anger, the Heart with joy and the Lung with grief.

Acupuncture has a calming effect on the body and mind. This calming effect can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate and relax the muscles of the body overall.

In my clinics I sometimes use other Chinese medicine therapies to treat stress or anxiety in addition to acupuncture. For example, I may use cupping  or Tui Na , moxibustion (moxa) or recommend Chinese Herbal Medicine.

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