Acupuncture and Stress
A Popular TCM for De-stressing
What is acupuncture most commonly used for in the western world? The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used to treat many ailments, sports injuries, and purely, for relaxation.
Acupuncture is very particular to you and your neighbourhood/environment, for instance here, in Toronto, where people commute for far too long, work in high-stress jobs for far too many hours, and who run around eating/drinking whatever is in front of us, and who try with all might to get fit. These stresses often become ailments, which are seeking a cure. I commonly see a lot of high stress, anxiety, headaches, digestive issues and sports-related injuries.
In Beijing, known for its significant levels of pollution, its crazy Gobi Desert sandstorms, and nutrient-depleted foods, I dealt with a lot of stroke, paralysis, and breathing issues, such as asthma. In Nepal, where water is highly polluted, the quality of living is sub-par, and there are drastic temperature changes within a 24-hour period, I dealt with major issues concerning the digestive system, osteoporosis (brittle/broken bones) and a lot of edema (swelling of the lower half of the body).
Our bodies adjust to our environment, our environment rules how our bodies react, and we tend not to listen to our bodies as well as we should. We wake up with anxiety about the day, we go to sleep without having a bowel movement, and take a pill every couple of hours to be able to function with a head/body ache, and this is our normality! We see everyone else doing it, so it must be ok, right? Nope! If we look at stress, and how our body reacts to it, we can practically state that stress is the cause of all illnesses.
We wake up with anxiety about the day, we go to sleep without having a bowel movement, and take a pill every couple of hours to be able to function with a head/body ache, and this is our normality!
As described in Healthline.com‘s article, ‘The Effects of Stress on Your Body,’ stress can ‘attack’ from anywhere. You could be sitting in traffic, late for work/meetings, and watching the minutes and hours tick by when your hypothalamus (the control centre in your brain) suddenly sends out the order: Send in the STRESS hormones! What does this do to your body?
Your body can’t differentiate stresses, it only knows the ‘Fight or Flight’ response. Your heart races, your breath quickens and your muscles prepare for action. But, you’re in the car, will your response be fight or flight? Neither, although your body is trained to do one or the other. In our past, we would run from a lion, with the hopes of escaping (flight), or we would flight until we could fight no longer. This is a very barbaric view of stress, but it’s what our bodies know.
Your body can’t differentiate stresses, it only knows the ‘Fight or Flight’ response
Back to the present, sitting in a car everyday, sometimes twice a day, your body’s response is neither fight nor flight. Instead, you defer stress to other areas – your heart (high blood pressure, heart attack etc.), lungs (oxygen depletion, anxiety), stomach (lack of nutrient absorption, gas, bloating, bad breath), and kidneys (sore muscles, back pain, constipation, diarrhea). Over time, your stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders.
People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses, such as the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections.
While reducing your body’s immune system, stress can also increase the time it takes for you to recover from an illness or injury. The ultimate question becomes: How do we treat/deal with stress?
We need to recognise stress, then,to be mindful – not mind full – of it, and to actively seek help. There is an easy course of action to take:
• Simple meditation, as little as 5 minutes a day, while sitting in traffic;
• Eating foods, such as dandelions, which nature provides. Eat their leaves and drink the roots (to detoxify);
• Find a professional, such as an acupuncturist, who can help your body recognise and reduce stress by treating your stress points, and giving you the coping mechanisms needed to react appropriately, and to move on.
Acupuncture is a more than 2,000-year-old TCM. Your body needs, craves, help. The study of acupuncture, as it pertains to stress, is designed to assess your body’s stress levels, and to boost its immune system and manage your hypothalamus to react more effectively to stressors.
In place of fight or flight, acupuncture helps you to stop, breathe, and process your thoughts, balancing your emotions, and grounding you, so that you are strong enough to manage the stresses of day-to-day life.
Want this to happen more immediately? Find the spot between your eyebrows. Using your thumb or index finger, gently press in an upward direction, until you reach your hairline.Stop and repeat again, and again, and again. No time frame, just until your muscles start to relax.