Life can be overbearing and full of more responsibilities than we think we can handle at times. There are not many people in this world that can say they are stress free. It’s our body’s natural defense when things are not going right—which is bound to happen.
Yet, we know that stress can be bad for our health. The National Institute of Mental Health says that, with chronic stress, "Your immunity is lowered and your digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems stop working normally."
What is stress and how does it affect you?
Stress is chemical and hormonal reaction by the body to external forces. These hormones were designed to help keep humans alive by allowing them to react quickly and effectively to dangerous situations. However, when the stress is chronic and the chemicals and hormones to not return to normal, stress can contribute to a list of health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
Common Effects of Stress on Your Body
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some other symptoms of stress.
Common effects of stress on your mood
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
Common effects of stress on your behavior
- Overeating or undereating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
- Social withdrawal
- Exercising less often
How can acupuncture relieve stress?
While many practitioners of acupuncture have observed that stress is often reduced in their patients by acupuncture until a few years ago, the mechanisms of how exactly it works haven't been well understood. But a series of studies on rats have now shown how exactly acupuncture relieves stress.
Researchers exposed rats to stress and them measured blood hormone levels and stress peptide levels both on 4 groups. One had no stress and no treatment, one had stress and no treatment, one had stress and a sham treatment and one had stress and an acupuncture treatment. The results, according to the study's lead author, were that acupuncture "blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations" of stress hormones and peptides. The groups who didn't receive acupuncture or had sham acupuncture didn't benefit from these effects. She goes on to say, "Our growing body of evidence points to acupuncture's protective effect against the stress response."
Getting Started With Acupuncture
So next time your responsibilities and level of stress seem too much, don't reach for the wine. Instead, make an appointment today.