It has been a problem for thousands of years - Your heart races, your palms sweat, you can’t sleep at night, you’re not eating, you’re irritable and mean for no reason...
You are STRESSED!
And whether it is 2000 years ago and you were worried about hunting for your next meal or it’s the present day and you are stressed about your job, your relationship or your teenage daughter – It is important to realise, your body still responds to stress the same way.
Traditional Chinese medicine has withstood the test of time in providing stress relief and has been practiced for over 2500 years with excellent results.
With a basic understanding of how the body responds to stress it is easy to see why these treatments are so effective.
At OMNI chiropractic we are strong believers in patient education, below you will find a brief but detailed explanation on why acupuncture is, and has been, a great tool to handle stress.
Acupuncture cannot remove the stresses in your life, it can however change the way your body adapts and handles these stresses – Leading to a healthier lifestyle
How we normally handle stress: The acute stress response
Our bodies are geared for survival. The stress-response is a natural process that the body undergoes to help it deal with outside threats. When the body perceives danger or any form of excess stress, our Autonomic nervous system triggers a series of changes known as the “Flight-or-fight” response. The main result of this response is an increase in the release of 2 key survival hormones – Epinephrine (Adrenaline) and Glucocorticoids (Cortisol). Each of these 2 hormones then have their own unique responses.
1. What Adrenaline Does:
Adrenaline causes he body to react in a way to help us survive the immediate stress presented – Help us fight harder or run faster!
- Increases our heart rate
- Increases our breathing volume
- Dilates pupils
- Dilates blood vessels and Increases blood flow
- Decreases our perception of pain
2. What Cortisol Does:
Cortisol’s main function is to increase our energy supply in the presence of a stress or threat. It does this by stimulating an increase of glucose (the main source of energy used by the body) in the blood. Cortisol will also redirect immune cells closer to the surface to allow quicker response to any injuries. Although this is beneficial in cases where there is immediate harm to the body it lowers immune and inflammation functions in the blood and joints.
So what's the problem? Chronic Stress!
Now, you may say that all the bodily responses listed above are good things, promoting survival. But what happens when the body is in a constant state of stress?
In today’s fast paced world we are always thinking about that next problem, whether it be work, school or your personal life, there never seems to be a shortage of things to stress out about.
Normally, when the external threat or stress is removed, our bodies can revert back to their normal and “unstressed” state. Our adrenaline and cortisol levels lower back to their normal ranges. Our blood pressure lowers, we get hungry again, our immune and inflammation responses come back to normal and the hyper-alertness will fade and let us sleep easily.
Unfortunatley, when we are stressed all the time, these hormones remain in excess all the time!
Prolonged release/high levels of adrenaline can lead to:
- Digestive Disorders
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Palpatations
- Excessive sweating
However, Adrenaline breaks down in the body rather quickly, so thankfully, these health risks are not usually a long-term problem.
Prolonged release/high levels of cortisol have been shown to be more dangerous and have been linked to:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Weight gain
- Memory loss
- Decreased immune function
- Decreased inflammatory responses
- Decreased vasodilation
- Depression of cartilage and decreased bone formation
So how can we lower stress?
Of course the best treatment for stress is to simply calm down. However, mastering the art of meditation can be tough – People are quick to reach for prescription drugs such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. The dangers and side effects of these drugs have been well documented and include:
- Gastrointestinal disturbance/diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Inability to achieve an orgasm (men and women)
- Sleep disruption
- Weight gain
Acupuncture is the safe and Natural Alternative!
By targeting particular points in the body acupuncture functions to manage this imbalance of neurotransmitters and hormones. With the insertion of needles into these “gateway” or “power points” the body is stimulated to reset and return to its resting state. Moreover, acupuncture stimulates the release of naturally occurring pain killing and “feel good” neuropeptides, returning the body to a calm and rested state.
Acupuncture cannot remove the stresses in your life, it can however change the way your body adapts to these stresses