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Acupuncture for Stress and Anxiety? Yes, please!

by Sai Jurawanichkul, MS, L.Ac

Throughout grad school, my weekly acupuncture sessions were a lifesaver. Since acupuncture operates within a holistic theory, I found mental peace and physical calm (bye bye PMS, headaches, and trouble sleeping)!

75% of adults experience moderate to high levels of stress.

Stress and anxiety are rampant in our modern lifestyle. Many of us accept it as a normal part of life. In fact, 75% of adults have moderate to high levels of stress. Nearly half said that their stress has increased in the past year.

“Good stress” helps you meet your next deadline. The rush of adrenaline and increased blood sugar (to fuel your cells) helps you run across the finish line at your half marathon. This ancient evolutionary mechanism of “fight or flight” is what keeps us safe.

But once the “threat” has passed, our body returns to equilibrium. Our heart rate and blood pressure normalizes, blood sugar falls back down, and our breathing calms. Ah, homeostasis!

Chronic stress causes pain, insomnia, digestive problems, and more…

But what happens when the “threat” doesn’t go away? Nowadays, our bodies are under constant stress, not allowing our body to return to equilibrium. Chronic stress can cause headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, infertility, and a variety of emotional conditions.

In the long-term, it increases your chances of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and a host of other conditions.

Acupuncture lowers stress, and helps with anxiety and depression.

So how can acupuncture help with stress? A study shows that receiving acupuncture lowers cortisol levels, and lessens anxiety and depression through behavioral tests. Acupuncture decreases activity in the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, which is in charge of the stress response.

Other studies also show that acupuncture can help treat anxiety and depression.

Aside from the clear physiological mechanisms acupuncture has to combat stress, having a weekly oasis is your way of telling your body “Hey! This is your time to rest.” My patients always walk out of the clinic relaxed and calm, no matter what they come in with. We call it the “acu-high.”

 

About Sai Jurawanichkul, MS, LAc

Sai is a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac) in California and New York, and is currently practicing at the preeminent clinic Many Lives Chinese Medicine in Redwood City, California. She helps her patients live a fulfilling life by overcoming obstacles (whether that be pain, physical or emotional disorders) by introducing effective, individualized treatment plans.

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