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Chronic Stress: How Acupuncture Can Help

Stress is a natural response of the body, intended to help us overcome temporary threats or hurtles. This is why the stress response is often referred to as the “fight or flight response.” While short-term stress can be beneficial, a lot of us are living with the effects of long-term or chronic stress.

Chronic stress is when our body continues to respond as if it were in a “fight or flight” situation over a prolonged period, even if there are no real threats. A body that is continually engaging in the stress response will affect both our physical and psychological well-being, leading us to feel debilitated, overwhelmed and with the increased potential to develop major illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, insomnia, and depression. Chronic stress ultimately hinders our body’s ability to function properly.

Acupuncture is one time-tested modality that can be used for the treatment of chronic stress, both for the symptoms that come with prolonged stress (i.e. upset stomach, insomnia) as well as for the root causes (i.e. over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system).

Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, filiform needles into specific points of the body that trigger a cascade of biophysiological reactions. It is these reactions that help treat chronic stress and other conditions. Acupuncture causes a release of various neurotransmitters and chemicals in the body, such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, as well as changes the brain’s processing of information at various levels, such as at the limbic and brainstem levels. This causes the body to move from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest,” causing activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. It is this system that allows our body to rest, heal and restore itself to equilibrium.

It is acupuncture’s ability to affect the neurological system that helps reduce the symptoms associated with long-term stress, as well as, re-set the body to a more homeostatic state. It is the acupuncturist’s job to help support and restore the integrity and vitality of the patient and their body. The practitioner will also discuss lifestyle habits to incorporate into your daily routine to counteract the effects of chronic stress and deal with future events in a more healthful way.

If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed and stressed, acupuncture has been proven to be a safe, effective and natural treatment.

Feel free to see this article on MyHealth Magazine.

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