Stress is a silent killer in our culture, and its this time of year we generally feel it the most. We are constantly barraged with the demands of life, violence on TV and anger on the internet. This is all on top of the business of life where most of us just have too much on our plates, with Christmas around the corner, we’re finding plates are beginning to feel a little too full with the extra stress.
If your life is anything like the people’s we meet day in day out, then you are busy, too busy, with seemingly not enough time to take care of yourself. Maybe you have kids, a job, a long commute and activities outside of work. It can feel like the giving and the doing never ends, and then it leaves you depleted and overwhelmed. Revving on this gear over time will eventually lead the body to being depleted due to the over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system or ‘fight or flight’ response.
Most of you will be familiar with fight or flight, its our bodies natural way of coping. Essentially the same physiological effects to stress happen today, as did when we were all in literal survival mode in our day to day. If a tiger was charging right at you, stress hormones like adrenaline would be released, the blood from your internal organs would rush to your legs and say, “RUN”.
Now, there’s no tiger chasing us, but instead, it’s a crying baby, a tense interaction at work, or getting cut off in traffic. Either way the response inside is the same, the body gets cut off from its blood flow and the entire body suffers. So then over time, symptoms arise: back pain, neck tightness, digestive distress, insomnia and of course, the anxiety. Before you know it, you have been categorized and given a label… “depression”, “IBS”, “Fibromyalgia”. How did this happen?
We can’t always change external circumstances or our responsibilities but we can attempt to change what is happening inside. Acupuncture involves a moving energy called Qi (pronounced chee), but there’s also actual physiological changes that happen in the brain due to acupuncture that change our hormonal response to stress. When the tiny, fine needles are inserted into the body, it stimulates the sensory nerves to send a signal to the brain to activate a response. Recent research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone and signalling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system. It is also sending a signal through the nervous system to the brain, where chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine and enkephalin are released. When the body receives these feels good and pain-relieving hormones, then the calming effect can go even deeper. \ When life gets busy, all too often the good stuff that relieves stress can get cut out, but carving out your ‘me-time’ for acupuncture will help to set your entire week right! Don’t let this Christmas be dreaded and wasted, we can help make this holiday more stress free and enjoyable. Call one of our Friendly receptionist to schedule a sit down consult and treatment with one of our three fantastic acupuncturists !
Ref: Acupuncture Connections, 2016.