Anyone feeling stressed these days? Maybe the more relevant question to ask should be, “Who isn’t feeling stressed these days?”. The recent pandemic has wreaked havoc in many of our lives, causing increased amounts of stress and anxiety over top of the usual. Research is showing ongoing stress linked to several health problems, including the weakening of our immune system. A weakened immune system can make us more prone to infections and decreases our ability to fight viruses. Faced with the increased risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus and maintaining overall health, we must take steps to manage and reduce our stress.

Stress Relief and Acupuncture

One way to manage stress naturally is acupuncture. Research is showing acupuncture’s positive effect on reducing stress. One study revealed increases in the synthesis and release of endorphin, beta-endorphin, enkephalin, serotonin, and oxytocin from the central nervous system, strengthening an individual’s resistance period to cope with stress. Acupuncture research has also reported a decrease in the perception of stress, lasting over three months after a 12-week treatment period. A report from the Journal of Endocrinology documented how stimulating certain body points with acupuncture can alter stress hormones.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), originating in Asia more than 2,500 years ago, and is used to treat many conditions. It is based on the notion that health results from the harmonious balance of yin and yang, which flows through our body as a vital life force called Qi via the acupuncture meridians. When our Qi becomes blocked or imbalanced by stress, illness can set in. Acupuncture is a method to restore this flow of Qi, rebalancing the body. To restore the flow of Qi and balance the body, an acupuncturist will insert very thin needles into specific areas on the body, called acupuncture points. The location of these points is believed to be in nerve-rich areas that, upon stimulation, can release hormones such as endorphins, our body’s natural pain killers, and serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate mood. Because the needles are so thin, minor discomfort, if any, is experienced. There are minimal adverse side effects. Bruising at the needle site is the most common. Treatments can last from 20 minutes up to an hour. Because many people relax during the treatment, an hour of treatment is common.

Acupuncture is a great way to manage stress naturally. Because everyone responds differently, the number of treatments will vary. Our licensed acupuncturists will recommend an individual treatment plan. For more information on acupuncture, you can visit our website at The Won Institute.

Blog Written & Submitted by Sheila Papa

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