What is Stress, and How to De-Stress with Acupuncture

What is Stress?
It may seem like a very simple question, but there isn’t a cut-and-dried answer. Everyone perceives it differently. Some people thrive on it, others can’t stand it at all. And no matter how much of it you can take, everyone seems to want less.

Stress is the strain we place on our bodies during daily life. Stress is the physical tension we feel when we have too much going on mentally or emotionally – our body’s attempt to guard against the pressure we feel. Stress can be damaging to our long-term health because it weakens our immune systems, tampers with our blood pressure, and inhibits our digestion.

All our body reactions to stress comprise what is called the fight-or-flight response. These reactions are necessary if we are in an acute crisis and need to run, think, or act very quickly. The classic example of this is if you were in the wilderness and got attacked by a lion. The long-term effects of stress don’t seem so important in that situation if you can’t run away fast enough to avoid being eaten.

The problem with stress is when we can’t disengage ourselves from it. With no time to relax or regenerate, we run our bodies to the ragged edge, and eventually fall right off the cliff.

How to De-Stress with Acupuncture
So what can acupuncture do for stress? The initial answer you might think is: not much. Having someone stick needles in you doesn’t quite sound like a relaxing experience – just ask a child who’s had a vaccine. You would be pleasantly surprised by how acupuncture actually feels. In Japanese acupuncture styles, most patients cannot feel the needle insertion. If they do, they say it is like a bug bite – a nuisance for an instant, and then out of your mind.

Acupuncture helps with stress relief by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that counteracts the fight-or-flight response, and it helps to promote feelings of calm, rest, and relaxation. Digestion is improved, and blood pressure decreases.

An acupuncture treatment gives you time to be with yourself. It’s time to unwind, or reflect, or simply sleep. Time to be able to forget the cares of the world and focus on your own needs for a change.

Acupuncture can also help you de-stress by helping with other health problems that can cause stress by themselves. There are too many of these things to get into here, but you can search this blog for more info about conditions that acupuncture can help with, like depression, muscle pain, or Parkinson’s disease.

So, when you’re thinking of how to de-stress, think of acupuncture. It may be exactly what you need.