Stress is defined as mental, emotional or physical strain. It can manifest itself in the body in many different ways. Some people might have stomach issues, while others have back pain. Some might have headaches or migraines and others might suffer from depression, anxiety or anger issues. In all cases, if you are having health problems, your body is telling you something is wrong and you need to make a change.
Western treatments for stress may include a doctor’s evaluation, biofeedback, counseling or pharmaceuticals. While there is definitely a time and a place for Western treatment, it is not always necessary for treatment. There are alternative ways to approach stress reduction.
Stress is really a creation of the mind. Instead of accepting different situations and going with the flow of things in our lives, resistance is created inside the body. Your body will tighten, and the flow of energy, or qi, will become blocked or stop entirely. Chinese medicine views stress as an attack on the liver channel, which is responsible for the flow of energy in the body. That flow of energy has to move without restriction, called free-coursing through the body, or different illnesses or conditions will occur.
Thankfully, acupuncture and herbs are very safe and successful ways to combat stress. Acupuncture opens up energy blockages, releasing the qi and bringing balance back to the body. When the energy begins to move again, the body is being re-trained to heal itself. With regular treatments, that energy will flow and allow your body to soften, moderating your heart rate, reducing your stress levels and freeing your body from the symptoms of stress you were once experiencing. Herbs used in conjunction with acupuncture will help this process along, allowing you to be one step closer to a balanced body and mind.
Treatment frequency and length depends on each individual patient. If your stress levels are high, a life change might be something to consider. Patients who can’t or won’t make a change in their lives will need regular, frequent treatments for a longer amount of time to feel their best. Others who can and do make life changes, such as switching jobs or depending on other forms of therapy, will feel relief in a fairly short period of time.
Everyone suffers from stress at one point or another. Some feel it more than others. I have a patient who just had the joy of having a baby. She realized very quickly that there was a great deal of difference in her lifestyle and the responsibilities of her life. Sleep deprivation, constant worry and stress started to overcome her and she allowed that energy to manifest in her body as abdominal pain.
She began to have an inability to handle day-to-day problems. She would break down and cry, often over relatively minor things. The inability to be in control of the situation on her part created liver qi stagnation or the blockage of energy flow in the liver channel. She didn’t know how to handle problems that might come up with her precious newborn, so internally her body was tightening and blocking that energy. With needles, herbs, meditation and yoga we helped her train her body and mind to relax and soften. She learned that sometimes things were going to happen. These things might not be to her liking or in her favor, but she accepted the fact that she has no control over what happens. She knew when the time comes, she would have to surrender to the situation, take a minute to accept it, and then make her decisions on what she has to do next.
Acupuncture will help you find relief and will bring balance to your body. It will help you overcome stressful situations, and remind your body of how it’s supposed to work and feel. All you have to lose is the stress you carry with you.