December Newsletter: Get a Head Start on Holiday Stress with Acupuncture

Woman stressed over the holidays

Get a Head Start on Holiday Stress with Acupuncture

Is "stressful" the first word that comes to mind when you think about the upcoming holiday season? Acupuncture may offer the perfect antidote. The time-tested healing method calms your frazzled nerves without causing any unpleasant side effects.

Stress Affects Your Body's Natural Balance

Stress has a dramatic effect on your body. As your stress level rises, a burst of adrenaline sends your body into fight-or-flight mode. Adrenaline helps you face challenges, while the stress hormone cortisol floods your body with glucose (blood sugar) needed to maintain high energy.

In most cases, adrenaline and cortisol levels decrease as soon as you no longer feel threatened or stressed. Unfortunately, all stressful situations aren't short-lived. If you're feeling overwhelmed by holiday preparations or a difficult job or family situation, stress can be a constant problem.

Long-term stress disrupts yin and yang, competing forces that must be precisely balanced for good mental and physical health. When you feel anxious and stressed, you're more likely to experience Qi blockages. Qi, an invisible energy source, flows through your body in pathways called meridians. Blockages affect yin and yang balance and can be the reason why you find it so hard to relax.

Stress increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, heart attack and digestive problems, in addition to causing headaches, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Feeling stressed may even make breathing more difficult if you have a respiratory disease, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to the American Psychological Association.

5 Ways Acupuncture Helps Relieve Stress

Acupuncture eases stressful symptoms by:

  • Improving Your Mood. Inserting hair-thin acupuncture needles into your skin increases the production of serotonin and endorphins, hormones that regulate your moods. Thanks to these hormones, you feel calm, relaxed, and centered. When you visit your acupuncturist at the beginning of the holiday season, you may be less likely to experience mood swings and might find it easier to handle stressful situations due to the activation of these important hormones.
  • Lowering Your Cortisol Level. It's impossible to relax when your cortisol level remains high. Acupuncture treatments decrease high cortisol levels and interrupt the stress response. Acupuncture had a positive effect on morning cortisol levels in a study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Study participants also noted less anxiety after receiving acupuncture and electroacupuncture.
  • Regulating Your Brain's Stress Control Center. The somatosensory cortex, a part of the brain responsible for motor skills and body sensations, also plays a role in stress. Acupuncture treatments may help quiet the center, reducing your stress.
  • Easing Pain. Do you have a pounding headache or tight, aching shoulder muscles after a holiday shopping trip? Buying gifts is one of the least enjoyable aspects of the holiday season for many of us. In fact, 46 percent of people surveyed by TopCashback reported that shopping for gifts was the most stressful part of the holiday season. Restoring the natural flow of Qi with acupuncture helps relieve headaches and muscle pain throughout the entire season.
  • Enhancing Sleep. Lack of sleep only seems to make stress worse. Increasing the production of serotonin with acupuncture not only improves your moods, but also has a positive impact on melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep/wake cycle. Serotonin helps your body synthesize melatonin, according to McGill University. If you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep due to stress, acupuncture could help you get a better night's sleep.

Are you ready to enjoy the stress-relieving effects of acupuncture? Contact our office to schedule an appointment this holiday season.

Sources:

American Psychological Association: Stress Effects on the Body, 11/1/2018

https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body

Science Direct: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice: Electroacupuncture and Acupuncture in the Treatment of Anxiety – A Double Blinded Randomized Parallel Clinical Trial, 2/2022

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1744388122000093

Top Cashback: Holiday Prep Survey 2022 - Results

https://www.topcashback.com/dyn/holiday-prep-survey-results-2022/

McGill University: The Brain from Top to Bottom

https://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_11/d_11_m/d_11_m_cyc/d_11_m_cyc.html

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