Most people don’t automatically think of getting acupuncture for stress relief. Being stuck with needles might not intuitively seem like a relaxing scenario. However, you might be surprised to learn that stress-relief is one of the things that acupuncture excels at. In fact, we like to jokingly say that acupuncture is one of the only ways to get a New Yorker to willingly stop moving for more than five minutes.
“Acupuncture for stress” is almost a redundant statement, since it’s basically unavoidable! Stress-relief is a side-effect of almost all acupuncture treatments, because the goal of traditional Chinese medicine is to return the body and mind to its natural state of relaxed awareness. In that state, the body’s innate intelligence can take over with the least amount of interference.
Traditionally, this is explained by the balancing effect that acupuncture has on the body’s systems. We remove blockages in the body-mind that can disturb the smooth flow of Qi and Blood in the acupuncture meridians, which is essential for maintaining a sense of wellbeing and good health. In a modern sense, the stress-relieving effects of acupuncture can be explained through the cascading release of endorphins and various neurotransmitters that take us out of a chronic state of “fight-or-flight” (sympathetic), and put us in a state of “rest-anddigest” (parasympathetic). The effects are similar to a meditation session, or a short nap.
Acupuncture for stress is extremely common, and has even started to make headlines. Check out this article, from Huffington Post. Many patients that initially come for help with pain management, or help with other chronic conditions wind up returning once they feel the powerful effect of acupuncture for stress.