If you are one of the 40+ million adults in the United States that suffer from anxiety or severe stress on a daily basis, then you understand the negative impact that it can have on everyday life. You also likely understand the drawbacks of most doctor-prescribed medications to treat the problem, with side effects ranging from drowsiness to headaches. However, the traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture has exploded in popularity as an alternative treatment for both anxiety and chronic stress. While it has been used for thousands of years in Asian culture, there is growing scientific evidence in the Western world today to show the benefits that it can have on reducing stress levels in patients.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The ancient technique is based on inserting tiny needles into specific pressure points throughout the body, leading to reduced stress and alleviation of anxiety symptoms in patients. The healing principles are that we have a flow of energy inside our bodies called the “qi”, which can become congested by various ailments. By placing the needles in areas assigned to trigger reactions from specific organs and release hormones in our body, acupuncture removes blockages to balance our bodies.
How Does Acupuncture Relieve Stress?
While acupuncture has effectively been used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce stress for centuries, only recently has there been scientific evidence to explain how it actually works. In 2013, a study on acupuncture’s use in animals at Georgetown University indicated that it lowered the blood hormone levels from the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA). This axis regulates the reaction that our bodies have to stress, affecting everything from our mental well-being to our immune system. The study concluded that acupuncture was able to block the stress-induced levels of HPA hormones, as well as the peptide that our bodies release during a “fight or flight” situation. By doing so, it seemingly protects against the negative responses that our body can have to high levels of stress.
How Does Acupuncture Relieve Anxiety?
The same principles apply to acupuncture’s treatment of anxiety as it does to stress. By limited the secretion of hormones that we produce in reaction to dangerous or stressful situations, our body naturally balances itself out. Since the imbalance of these hormones leads to the overwhelmed feeling that we know as anxiety or panic attacks, acupuncture’s ability to reduce them also reduces the negative symptoms. After just eight sessions of acupuncture, many practitioners report that their patients feel calmer, more relaxed and even report anxiety-reduced rashes disappearing. While the treatment may not relieve all elements of anxiety in every patient, it appears to significantly reduce the most damaging effects that the symptoms have on both the mind and the body.
What Are The Mental Health Benefits of Acupuncture?
Anybody that undergoes acupuncture for stress or anxiety relief can expect a wide range of benefits from their sessions. As stress and anxiety impact both our physical and mental well-being, one of acupuncture’s greatest benefits is that it holistically improves all aspects of our being.
Working with a skilled acupuncture practitioner can lead to:
Increased endorphins being released into your body
- A reduction of hormones caused by stress being secreted
- A calmer and more relaxed feeling overall
- A reduction or elimination of panic attacks and anxiety attacks
- Healthier bodily functions including digestion, breathing and sexuality
- Less mood swings, headaches and better sleep
Simply put, acupuncture is able to create a harmony within your body by releasing blockages so that you are able to lessen the impact that stressful situations create.
Are There Any Side Effects of Acupuncture for Stress Relief?
The best part about using acupuncture to lessen the effects of anxiety or stress is that it is a 100% natural and safe solution. Unlike prescription drugs which come with a long list of negative side effects, there are no risks associated with the treatment when you work with a licensed professional. The only possible side effect of acupuncture is soreness from the needles, which may last up to a day after the session. However, when you work with an experienced and expert healer, it is unlikely that you will feel much pain afterwards.
How Does an Acupuncture Treatment for Anxiety Work?
When you come into a clinic for your treatment, our acupuncturist will begin by asking you several questions about yourself. By doing so, they will discover the symptoms that you are looking to alleviate. They will also ask you about your medical history and any medication you are currently on, helping them to get a holistic view of your body. Once they know you would like the acupuncture session to treat anxiety and stress, they will begin by inserting the needles into the special points in your body to overcome the symptoms. The insertion process can last anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes, with an additional 20 minutes of leaving you to rest with all the needles in place. Although you should receive some benefits including relaxation during the treatment, acupuncture is meant to be used on a consistent basis to maximize the benefits. It is recommended that you and your therapist create a treatment schedule together which best suits your availability and their recommendations.
Begin Using Acupuncture for Stress and Anxiety Relief Today
If you are ready to discover the incredible benefits that acupuncture can have in reducing your anxiety or stress symptoms, then we encourage you to contact us at Rocky Mountain Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine today! Our experienced and comfortable approach to acupuncture will help you relax, bring balance to your body and reduce the negative effects that stress has on your body. All of our acupuncture therapists are fully licensed, certified and ready to work closely with you to remove any blockages within your body. Schedule your acupuncture appointment today and come see why we are Colorado’s top acupuncture clinic!