Anatomical Prints

Acupuncture & TCM Articles

Acupuncture for Stress Relief
Author: Annie Beal

As our lives have become more stressful and hectic, medical professionals have begun to see the effects of stress on our health. Acupuncture's ancient approach to health care offers powerful protection against the damaging affects of stress.

Stress is a leading cause of high blood pressure, which in turn is a leading cause of heart attack or stroke. But stress can be responsible for other disorders as well. Acupuncture helps support the proper functioning of your body as one unified system.

Most people have a "weak" point in their body that will react first when the person is under stress. For example, it may be that a person gets headaches when they are highly stressed, or perhaps they will experience digestive trouble in stressful situations.

Learning to manage stress can be an important tool to improving a person's overall health and well being. Not only can stress reduction create a positive impact on physical health. It can also help you sleep, communicate better in relationships and even perform better in school or at your job.

Traditional stress management techniques have included things such as visualization, relaxation and meditation exercises. But increasingly, people in Western society are beginning to recognize the value of the Chinese therapy of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is most commonly used to treat and control chronic pain, but it is also increasingly being used to treat a number of both common and rare illnesses. Because acupuncture is based on the idea of creating and maintaining the natural, harmonious flow of life energy or 'chi,' it can also be used to combat stress and the problems that it causes.

The World Health Organization has recognized a list of disorders and ailments for which acupuncture can be helpful. The list includes headaches (including migraines), paralysis that is due to a stroke and back pain such as sciatica or lower back pain issues.

The practice of acupuncture uses thin needles of different lengths that are inserted into particular points along channels that conduct the body's energy. These energy streams are called meridians. Acupuncturists are familiar with the more than 350 acupoints that are used to clear any blockages along the meridians. They may also use a tiny electronic pulse to increase the stimulation to the tissues, or they may use herbal therapy as well.

Regular acupuncture treatments can help to restore the normal flow of chi throughout the body so that it is better equipped to withstand the pressures and stresses of daily life. If any particular areas of the body are weakened by stress, then acupuncture can be used to help strengthen those areas of the body or organ systems as well.

The insertion of needles stimulates the blood flow to a certain area as well, bringing a fresh supply of oxygen to the tissues. It also helps to clear toxins from an area that has not been receiving its necessary energy flow.

A trained, licensed acupuncturist may also recommend the use of particular herbs in order to supplement the acupuncture. Or, they may be able to teach you some self-applied acupressure techniques in order to help with stressful situations.

Acupuncture treatment is relaxing and refreshing. You will most likely find that treatment by a qualified acupuncture specialist will greatly assist your body cope with the potentially damaging affects of stress.