Stress is a normal bodily reaction to a real or perceived threat in a person’s life. However, chronic stress can affect many aspects of a person’s life including their emotions, behaviors, their thinking ability, and physical health.
Mental, physical and behavioural symptoms of stress may include:
- Headaches or dizziness.
- Muscle tension or pain.
- Chest pain or a faster heartbeat.
- Difficulties with concentration.
- Feeling overwhelmed.
- Constant worry.
- Being irritable.
- Sleep disruption.
- Avoidance of places or people.
Chronic stress may also be expressed in a range of chronic anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, phobias and PTSD. Stress and anxiety disorders are higher in prevalence for women than for men.
Acupuncture has been shown to lessen stress symptoms and change anxiety behaviours. The intensity of stress and anxiety symptoms varies from person to person. Therefore, an acupuncturist will first examine a person’s background, health history, diet and life behaviours to uncover the root cause of stress or anxiety in the individual.
For symptoms of stress and anxiety, acupuncture will:
- Calm the nervous system which alleviates the symptoms of stress, decreases heart rate and blood pressure.
- Boost the immune system to improve stress related fatigue.
- Regulate the flow of disturbed energy to restore balance and increase feelings of wellness.
- Regulate hormonal balance to reduce the stress response.
- Work in tandem with diet, exercise and lifestyle recommendations.
Studies have shown that acupuncture reduces the body’s production of stress hormones and that acupuncture has a protective effect on the body’s response to stress.
The University of York reported that benefits of acupuncture treatments for some anxiety conditions last longer than three months after the end of treatment.