In our fast-paced, technology-laden, pandemic and recession world it’s frankly near impossible to avoid stress.
Short-term stress can be great for getting us out of prickly situations. The stress hormone, cortisol, increases glucose in the bloodstream to enhance brain function and help with tissue repair. Well, that’s good.
But chronic stress, which most of us are under, is not good.
Heightened cortisol levels trigger the body to reduce nonessential body systems – such as the immune, digestive and reproductive systems. Your body is focused on keeping you alive, not keeping all your functions going in the best possible state. Maybe you get sick often, have poor digestion (bloating anyone?) or are struggling to get pregnant. One of the main culprits is often stress.
I would say 90% of the patients that come through my door think their stress is normal, “it’s just modern life right?”.
While we can’t easily change our jobs or life situations, if we want our immune, digestive and reproductive functions to come back online, we have to make the body think the danger is gone, even if just for a little time each day.
The best ways you can help reduce stress:
- Breathing (the deep belly kind)
- Meditating (even just 10 mins can be magic)
- Get off screens for 30 mins to give your brain a break
- Be in nature (even if it’s sitting under a tree outside your office)
- Gentle exercising like yoga or getting creative (whatever makes you happy)
How acupuncture and Chinese herbs can reduce stress:
Acupuncture rebalances the nervous system and brain to behave as it normally would so that cortisol levels are reduced. When stressed, the heart tends to pump faster, and can manifest in heart palpitations. Closely connected to the vagus nerve, heart rates will increase if the vagus nerve is stimulated. Research has shown that acupuncture points used on the arms and hands can help calm the vagus nerve and the heart rate.
Xiao Yao San is one popular Chinese herbal formula used frequently to address stress. It is called the "Free and Easy Wanderer” because it helps remove any stagnation in the energetic pathways that can lead to stress and difficulty focusing or staying on task.
If you are having difficulties dealing with stress, contact us to see how we can help to get you back on track. A personally tailored treatment plan of acupuncture points and Chinese herbs specific to your symptoms and constitution is given to every patient.