Acupuncture for Stress

Acupuncture for Stress

Acupuncture for Stress
Article by Verena McCrae,
Registered Acupuncturist

More often than not do I see patients coming in regularly for Acupuncture whose main complaint is stress.  Something they experience and deal with on a daily basis - which greatly interferes with their overall health.  Recently several medical studies have shown the relationship between high stress levels and its effect on decreasing health.  In Chinese Medicine, there is no doubt that stress has adverse effects on our health, as it disrupts the smooth flow of qi and eventually blood flow within the body, causing stagnation

Common Symptoms of Stress Include: 
Anger, irritability, frustration
Stiffness in muscles – commonly neck and shoulders
Trouble sleeping
Irregular menstruation/fertility
Premenstrual symptoms, breast distension, bloating
Migraines or tension headaches
Chest constriction, anxiety
Frequent sighing
Gastrointestinal disorder
Poor concentration
Irritable bowel syndrome
How can Acupuncture Help You Manage Stress?

Acupuncture is effective in moving qi and blood in the body, and therefore ridding us of any stagnation and thereby relieving stress.  During the insertion of needles, endorphins and serotonins are released within the brain and in turn create a deeply relaxing effect on the body.  Most patients have a tendency to fall asleep while the needles are in.  Medical studies show that acupuncture decreases sympathetic nerve activity during mental stress, lowering blood pressure and heart rate.  Patients claim to feel more energetic, clear minded and pleasantly alert after as little as one treatment and have noticeable and long lasting improvements after about 6 treatments. 

Homecare Using Acupressure

Acupressure is a treatment that can be performed by yourself or a partner at home. Stimulating certain acupuncture points on the body help to relieve stress and aid in circulation of energy. 

LI4 – located between the thumb and second finger at the highest point of the web between the fingers. This point helps to release emotional mental and biological toxins from the body.

Liver 3 – located in the web between the first and second toe. This point in conjunction with LI4 is called the four gates and is used to open the channels and remove stagnation and toxicity.

P6 – located two inches up from the wrist crease on the palm side in the middle of the forearm between the two tendons. This point is used to help calm the mind.

Yin Tang – located between the medial ends of the eyebrows, this point is great for a simple and gentle massage when you find yourself in a stressful situation.  This point if often referred to in yoga practice as the point of our most inner wisdom – so massage, close your eyes and see for yourself. 

Simple Lifestyle Suggestions

BreathingThe majority of us are very shallow breathers, breathing only from the upper lungs with very short and quick breaths.  This type of breathing deprives our tissues and cells of very needed oxygen.  This type of shallow breathing doesn’t allow for proper flow of qi within the body.  A simple daily routine of 5-10 minutes of deep, belly breathing can make an incredibly noticeable difference in how you feel, especially during a stressful glimpse. 

Exercise – Moderate exercise is the perfect amount of exercise to reduce stress and increase the release of endorphins from the brain.  Moderate exercise also helps to move qi and blood to help release any stagnation. 

Yoga or Qi Gong – Breathing focused exercise is ideal for our busy lives, and would benefit everyone if integrated into your busy day. 

Friends and Family – Having a good sense of community and support system is much more important than we give it credit.  This helps to minimize stress, and helps to break up our busy and stressful lives with some good quality family and friends time. 

Chinese Medicine Dietary Suggestions
Avoid eating after 7 pm
Eat small meals to a satiation point of 80 percent
Enjoy cooking, eating and sharing
Sit down to eat your meals
Eat organically, locally and SEASONALLY

Foods that are Beneficial to Avoid
Deep fried and greasy foods
Sweets, pastries and simple carbohydrates
Alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, recreational drugs
Overly spicy foods

Foods that are Beneficial to Add
Spices to move qi – turmeric, caraway, rosemary, chives, basil, thyme, mint.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts
Dark green leafy green vegetables
Moderate amount of organic lean meats and fish

In health and summer warmth,
Verena McCrae, R.Ac.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine









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