You may be familiar with acupuncture, but how much do you know about stress relief acupuncture? It’s gaining notoriety as a useful antidote to the pressures of our modern world.
When we experience stress, our bodies begin secreting hormones into our bloodstream. The organs responsible are the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland. The presence of high levels of these hormones causes us to feel panic, fear and excessive worry.
If we could control the secretion of those hormones, we could lessen our stress. In fact, researchers have accomplished that in the laboratory.
Stress Relief Acupuncture Tested – What The Doctors Say?
In April 2013, the Journal of Endocrinology included an article concerning animal studies conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center. Electronic acupuncture successfully blocked those hormones in rats. The study organizer explained that she used electroacupuncture to make sure that each animal received the same dose.
The Study’s Structure
The rats received needles just below the knee at what experts call the Zusanli point. Humans have the same pressure point.
The study divided the rats into four groups over a 10-day period. The first group received no stress and no acupuncture. Group two underwent stress but no acupuncture. The third group experienced stress followed by only mock acupuncture on their tails. Group four received stress as well as the real stress relief acupuncture.
The Study’s Results
The rats that received the true acupuncture at the Zusanli point experienced less elevation of the stress hormones than the other rats. The rats that received the acupuncture on their tails experienced nearly the same elevation of stress hormones as the group of rats that didn’t receive acupuncture.
The study also measured the body’s level of the peptide NPY which the sympathetic nervous system produces. It’s the system linked to the so-called fight-or-flight response we have under stress.
The blood flows chiefly to the brain, heart, and lungs. The heart rate increases. Adrenaline surges.
The rats that received acupuncture maintained lower levels of NPY.
The study researcher noted that there had always been anecdotal tales of acupuncture relieving stress, but now there’s scientific evidence.
Key Symptoms of Stress And How To Spot Them:
Exactly what are the manifestations of anxiety that stress relief acupuncture could make better?
Harmful stress on the body may show itself in any of the various ways listed below.
• Lack of focus
• Faulty judgment
• Negative viewpoint
• Excessive worrying
• Memory loss
• Reliance on mood-altering substances
• Appetite changes
• Restless, jittery behavior
• Overwhelmed by circumstances
• Problems unwinding
• Poor sense of self-worth
• Easily upset
• Lack of energy
• Digestive problems
• Muscle aches and pains
• Low sex drive
• Grinding teeth
• Clenching jaw
• Dry mouth
• Recurring colds
• Cold hands and feet
• Sweaty hands and feet
Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems
Our bodies are more than capable of handling periodic episodes of high levels of stress. The danger arises when we can’t escape a nightmare of constant anxiety. That fear may or may not be physical.
For example, a soldier on the front line of battle will experience stress under enemy fire. But he will also have stress from the pressure of making decisions day after day that could result in the loss of the lives of those in his command.
That ongoing fight-or-flight feeling from the sympathetic nervous system is what stress relief acupuncture successfully blocked in the Georgetown study.
The autonomic nervous system is responsible for governing the unconsciously directed functions of our body like the heartbeat. The sympathetic nervous system is just one major part of it. The other is the parasympathetic nervous system.
It works in contrast to the sympathetic nervous system. Instead of triggering a fight-or-flight response, the parasympathetic nervous system plays a crucial role in making us feel calm. Among other things, our heart rate returns to normal along with our appetite and digestion.
Stress acupuncture appears effective in promoting the actions of the parasympathetic nervous system. Worry lessens. Anxiety reduces.
The result is a more focused mind. People say they feel more alert than they usually feel. They are consciously aware of being present, of being in the “now.”
Why Does Stress Relief Acupuncture Work?
Western and eastern medicines differ on exactly why acupuncture works. Eastern traditional medicine says that acupuncture relieves stress because it increases the flow of energy throughout the body.
Eastern medicine practitioners say that the life force, Qi, flows along specific pathways in all living things. If Qi can’t travel freely within our bodies, we suffer. Acupuncture allegedly unblocks those networks, restoring the flow of Qi.
Western medicine supports the idea that acupuncture needles trigger natural responses in the human body. The brain then goes into action to direct the body to take steps to begin healing.
It is as if the brain has become like a DVD with a scratch. It’s stuck in one particular scene that causes stress. Acupuncture gently moves the mind past the scratch.
People undergoing stress relief acupuncture may notice an improvement in their symptoms as early as their first session. However, typically, several treatments are scheduled to help get the problem firmly under control.
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