Stress relief

10 reasons why you should try acupuncture to relieve your stress.

Stress is a normal part of the life. It is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. The body can adapt well to any changes within its limits. Beyond the limits, the body would have difficulty to adapt and this is where the problem starts.

There are 10 ways that stress can affect your health. If you are very stressed and cannot release it, there are 10 reasons why you should try acupuncture to relieve your stress.

No1 Stress impairs the brain. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) regulates our thoughts, actions and emotions through extensive connections with other brain regions. Research has shown that Acute stress impairs PFC function, while chronic stress leads to more extensive functional and structural alteration of PFC. Acupuncture can improve brain connectivity between different regions and improve brain function.

No2, Stress makes you anxious. Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease. It can be a reaction to stress. Stress can make existing anxiety worse that makes you more anxious, irritable, agitated and unable to relax. Stress also makes you unable to concentrate and forget things. Acupuncture can make the brain release endorphins and balance chemicals in the brain and reduce anxiety.

No3, Stress spoils your look. Stress creates tension on the face to make the expression muscles contract, as a result it pulls the skin and folds it creating wrinkles. If the stress is prolonged, the blood vessels are contracting reducing blood circulation on the face making the skin dry and collagen production is reduced and existing collagen is damaged which contributing to creating wrinkles. It accelerates aging process. Stress hormones increases oil production I the skin and makes acne worse. Acupuncture releases facial tension, improves facial circulation and increases collagen synthesis. As a result, acupuncture keeps you younger looking.

No4, Stress makes you tense. Tension triangle is involved in the face, head, neck and shoulders. The muscles in this triangle are very sensitive to stress and emotions causing tension for these muscles. According to research, in the first two or three seconds of emotional upset, the muscles around the eyes, mouth and jaw almost always tighten. Prolonged stress leads to a chronic shortening of the muscles. Under stress circumstances, people hold their body in tension without realizing it; Tension will build up over time when the stress is persisting. Acupuncture can effectively release all the tensions in the body by calming down the nerve activities and relaxing muscles.

No5, Stress makes you ache. Stress can trigger tension headache. A tension-type headache is the most common type of headache and can be triggered by stress. It may feel like a constant ache that affects both or one side of the head. One may also feel the neck muscle tighten and feeling of pressure behind the eyes. Acupuncture can effectively reduce any pain in anywhere of the body.

No6, Stress makes digestion bad. When stress attacks, you can have abdominal cramps accompanied with diarrhea and/or constipation. Stress causes more acid production in the stomach causing bloating and pain in the abdomen. Stress inflames bowels causing diarrhea and constipation. In irritable bowel syndrome, sustained cortisol activity during stress is associated with an increase in gastrointestinal symptoms. Acupuncture can help improve digestion by lower sympathetic nerve activities and releasing any abdominal cramps.

No7, Stress makes you sleepless. Stress can cause insomnia. In the state of stress, the body releases stress hormones –chemicals such as glucocorticoids to help the body to cope with the situation. Glucocorticoids can disrupt sleep and make sleep difficult. Acupuncture can help the body hormones balanced again and reduce brain activities to improve sleep.

No8, Stress makes you tired. When under stress, the body needs to make great efforts to cope by releasing extra chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the action. The blood is diverted to muscles and the brain function is minimized. If you are stressed, emotionally you may feel tired, agitated, anxious, worried or depressed and having difficulty to relax; physically you may feel lack of energy, tired all the time. Again acupuncture can improve circulation and balance hormones to provide you more energy.

No9, Stress makes your hormones imbalanced. Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol altering the body metabolism. Consequently, you would see signs of weight changes gaining weight or losing weight in short period of time. Also, you may see persistent acne. Menstrual cycles change is an important sign of imbalanced hormones. Acupuncture can effectively rebalance your hormones.

No10, Stress affects your fertility. Disruption of production of hormones could lead to loss of hormone balance. Physical and emotional stress can cause menstrual cycles changes such as irregular periods and it can affect fertility. Stress triggers the release of stress hormone cortisol, which changes the body metabolism. Cotisol is made from progesterone in female and testosterone in male. If under stress, the body keeps making stress hormone which would exhaust sex hormone and this compromise fertility. Acupuncture can balance hormone to restore fertility.

Acupuncture is effective to reduce stress

Stress is a part of every person's life. Research by the American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment indicates that in 2015, 42.8% students reported more than average stress in the past 12 months, with 10.7% reported being under tremendous stress. Furthermore, 30% of college students reported that stress had negatively impacted academic performance, and 76% of students reported feeling overwhelmed with all they had to do. A research studied effectiveness of acupuncture in the perception of stress specifically in patients who study or work on a large urban college campus. All participants were allocated into two groups: acupuncture group ad control group. Each participant completed the Cohen's global measure of perceived stress questionnaire at five timepoints: prior to treatment, at 6 week treatment, at 12 weeks which is the completion of treatment, 6 weeks post completion, 3 months post completion of the treatment. Significant improvement of the stress score was observed in acupuncture group started from 6 week treatment and last for 3 months when the study completed.

References

Stefanie Schroeder et al (2017) J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2017 Jun;10(3):165-170. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Jan 16.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. If it is persistent, it can affect daily life. The symptoms of anxiety include restlessness, a feeling of dread and being on edge, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping and being easily irritated. Acupuncture is used by many people to reduce their anxiety. Recent research has supported the application. A study investigated the effect of acupuncture and massage on anxiety. In this study anxiety levels were measured by a self-perception 5 points scale and at the end of the 5th and the 10th treatment. After a maximum of ten treatments, the levels of anxiety were reduced (98.39% after five sessions). Women at their tenth treatment reached lower anxiety levels than those of men.This study suggested that acupuncture is efficient to treat anxiety. A review analysed 13 publications for acupuncture on anxiety. They encourage using acupuncture for anxiety treatment with effective outcomes and fewer side effects than conventional treatment. The most common used acupuncture points for anxiety is Yintang(EX-HN 3), an acupoint located between the eyebrows.

A survey involved in 419 acupuncturists across the US has shown that anxiety is ranked third of top 10 conditions that people go for acupuncture just after lower back pain and depression. Mental health management, especially for mood disorders, is in greatest demand. 

10 reasons why you should try acupuncture to get rid of anxiety

No1 Chronic anxiety can interfere with quality of life. Everyone has anxiety from time to time, but this goes away quickly. If you are anxious all the time, this isn’t right, and you need to do something to get rid of the anxiety.

No2 Anxiety put you at risk to get physical illness. Evidence suggests that people with anxiety disorders are at greater risk for developing other chronic medical conditions. They may also have more severe symptoms and a greater risk of death when they become ill.

No3 Anxiety damages the brain. Anxiety triggers the amygdala and the hippocampus responding to any threats and the event is stored in the hippocampus. New research has shown that prolonged anxiety causes structural degeneration and impaired functioning of the brain such as the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.

No4 Anxiety causes headaches, dizziness. By responding to the anxiety, the brain releases hormones and chemicals. Long-term anxiety and panic attacks can cause the brain to release stress hormones regularly. This can increase the frequency of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness.

No5 Anxiety affects mental health and wellbeing. It makes you feel irritated, emotional, depressed and being in bad mood and easily getting angry.

No6 Anxiety causes rapid heart rate, palpitations, chest pain breathless which increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, respiratory diseases such as asthma.

No7 Anxiety impairs immune function. Anxiety triggers fight or flight response and makes the body release stress hormone and immune substance to help dealing with any events. Long lasting anxiety would exhaust immune system and weakens immune function which leaves you more vulnerable to viral infections.

No8 Anxiety makes you aching. Anxiety causes muscles tension and inflammation and chronic pain.

No9 Anxiety interrupts sleep and causes extreme fatigue and make you feel exhausted all the time and also causes loss of libido.

No10 Anxiety affects your digestive systems. You may have stomach-aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and loss of appetite. There is link between anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Amygdala and hippocampus are the key parts of the brain that are responsible for the anxiety, stress and other mood changes. Hypersensitivity of these regions of the brain causes anxiety.

Acupuncture reduces Amygdala and hippocampus activities. Acupuncture improves stress induce memory impairment and increases AchE activity in the hippocampus. Acupuncture reduces stress hormone levels, increases production of endogenous opioids and decreases the sympathetic nerve activities. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and stress induced changes.

How does acupuncture release anxiety?

Amygdala and hippocampus are the key parts of the brain that are responsible for the anxiety, stress and other mood changes. Hypersensitivity of these regions of the brain causes anxiety. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a new and effective tool to study brain activity. A study investigated the effect of acupuncture on the Amygdala and hippocampus. They compared the activity of these regions before and during acupuncture treatment. They found that acupuncture reduces Amygdala and hippocampus activities. There are also other studies showing that after acupuncture treatment these regions activities reduced. Acupuncture improves stress induce memory impairment and increases AchE activity  in the hippocampus. Acupuncture reduces stress hormone level such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH; Acupuncture increases production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system decreasing the sympathetic nerve activities. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and stress induced changes. These researches provide evidence that acupuncture is effective to release stress, anxiety and mood changes.

References

Hu KK et al Auton Neurosci. 2010 Oct 28;157(1-2):81-90. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2010.03.022. Epub 2010 May 21.

https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/stress.html

Feeling anxious all the time? Acupuncture can help

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. If it is persistent, it can affect daily life. The symptoms of anxiety include restlessness, a feeling of dread and being on edge, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping and being easily irritated. Acupuncture is used by many people to reduce their anxiety. Recent research has supported the application. A study investigated the effect of acupuncture and massage on anxiety. In this study anxiety levels were measured by a self-perception 5 points scale and at the end of the 5th and the 10th treatment. After a maximum of ten treatments, the levels of anxiety were reduced (98.39% after five sessions). Women at their tenth treatment reached lower anxiety levels than those of men.This study suggested that acupuncture is efficient to treat anxiety. A review analysed 13 publications for acupuncture on anxiety. They encourage using acupuncture for anxiety treatment with effective outcomes and fewer side effects than conventional treatment. The most common used acupuncture points for anxiety is Yintang(EX-HN 3), an acupoint located between the eyebrows.

References

Amorim D et al Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:215-219. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.02.016. Epub 2018 Mar 1.

Amorim D et al Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:31-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.008. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Kwon CY and Lee B Med Acupunct. 2018 Apr 1;30(2):73-79. doi: 10.1089/acu.2017.1268.

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