Stress and Anxiety

Acupuncture Stress

Stress is very common in today’s demanding society. It is the body’s natural response to dealing with threats, providing us with more strength, mental capacity, energy and a higher pain thresh hold to deal with situations. These changes occur due to the high release of steroid hormones, triggered by an excited nervous system.

However in long periods of stress, the steroid hormones have a negative impact on the body, one of which includes the interference of serotonin re-absorption. This is fundamental in maintaining a healthy mind and can eventually lead to anxiety or depression.

Acupuncture is ultimately thought to work by harmonising the excited nervous system and through aiding the elimination of the steroid hormones. Treatments vary from individuals and this depends largely on how it is manifesting itself on the body.

Common problems that arise from stress are IBS, headaches, fatigue, nausea, memory loss and many others. All of which may be successfully treated with acupuncture. From an acupuncturists perspective these symptoms and signs most likely involve an imbalance within the Spleen and or Liver energetic meridians, which are responsible for healthy digestion, mind clarity and a harmonious flow of energy throughout the body respectively. It is therefore important to reframe from obsessive thinking (i.e. take breaks) and eat at regular intervals to maintain healthy Spleen meridian function, and to do regular exercise to assist the flow of energy in the body.

How these imbalances develop further in the body, depends largely on the individuals life style and constitution. Through a thorough diagnosis, lifestyle advice and acupuncture can be given to address and rectify these imbalances.

 

Research

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):16-21. Epub 2010 Jun 19.An investigation into the effectiveness of traditional Chinese acupuncture (TCA) for chronic stress in adults: a randomised controlled pilot study.Huang W, Howie J, Taylor A, Robinson N. The lack of clarity concerning the definition of stress makes it complex to investigate. This pilot study suggests that TCA may be successful in treating the symptoms of stress, through a combination of specific and non-specific effects; but may not relate directly to how a person perceives their stress.
Neurosci Lett. 2011 Jan 25;488(3):225-8. Epub 2010 Oct 12.The effects of acupuncture (PC6) on chronic mild stress-induced memory loss.Kim H, Park HJ, Shim HS, Han SM, Hahm DH, Lee H, Shim I. Acupuncture stimulation at the PC6 point on the pericardium channels (3min), but not at other points (TE5), produced memory improvements and an increase in AchE reactivity in the hippocampus compared to the CMS group. These results show that the acupuncture point is effective in restoring the CMS-related biochemical and behavioral impairments, such as learning and memory.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEWAcupunct Med. 2007 Jun;25(1-2):1-10.Acupuncture for anxiety and anxiety disorders–a systematic literature review.
Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Cummings M, Richardson J.
 Positive findings are reported for acupuncture in the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder or anxiety neurosis but there is currently insufficient research evidence for firm conclusions to be drawn. No trials of acupuncture for other anxiety disorders were located. There is some limited evidence in favour of auricular acupuncture in perioperative anxiety. Overall, the promising findings indicate that further research is warranted in the form of well designed, adequately powered studies.