“Can acupuncture help with stress?” the young woman cutting my hair asked last week.
I get this question a lot. The answer is yes, and results can be felt immediately: relaxation, mental clarity, and deeper breathing.
Constant stress leads to an abnormal secretion of cortisol (the stress hormone) into the blood.
After years of experience with diverse populations, I know that stress can cause a plethora of physical symptoms and be the culprit for acute anxiety and some types of depression.
How do I treat stress and abnormal anxiety?
I begin a session by asking the 10 questions of a Chinese medical examination. Once I have a picture in my mind of the unique treatment strategy (everyone is different), I begin with Chinese massage (tuina) to help relax the muscles and connective tissue. Gentle insertion of sterile, prepackaged, one time use, hair thin needles are inserted. Not only do the needles help to create a healthier flow by rerouting circulation of blood and qi, but they promote the release of endorphins.
A patient may feel so relaxed they fall asleep. My colleagues and I call this an acunap!
Once the needles have been taken out, I often use guasha to complete the treatment. I learned this east Asian technique in my first year of acupuncture school. This gentle “scraping with a smooth edge” helps release toxins that are stuck in deeper layers of the body to be brought to the subcutaneous layer. These can then be easily carried away by the lymphatic system.
Before the patient leaves, I give suggestions on how to support the treatment. Perhaps a simple qigong exercise or lifestyle change will be helpful in breaking the cycle of stress and its effects on the body/mind.
I invite you make an appointment with me in the new year with the intention of prioritizing your health. Or, suggest it to a friend who you think might benefit. Here is to your well being in 2024! Happy New Year!