Stress is a natural response of the body to the various demands we place upon it. In ancient times, our stress response, also known as our ﬁght or ﬂight response, provided us with energy to preserve life during difﬁcult situations, such as an attack or threat by a wild animal. Unfortunately, modern day stress is considerably higher, more frequent and more consistent than what our predecessors experienced. Today, we don’t have to look much further than our windows, or computer screens, to view various forms of stressors everything from prime-time news and road rage, to the 40-hour work week and cell phones.
However, stress is not necessarily always negative. There is a distinction between healthy and unhealthy stress. Healthy stressors are usually short lived and keep us alert and motivated, and support our body’s strength and vitality.
Medical studies have shown that with increased and consistent stress, our white blood cells, which defend our body against viruses, decrease. This results in lower immune resistance, ultimately leading to physical disease and emotional instability.
There is Hope! Practitioners of acupuncture have been helping people cope with stress for thousands of years. The ancient theories on how stress affects the organs are similar to those of Western medicine. However, acupuncture theory and treatment go far beyond treating symptoms and signs and address the root cause(s) of the problem.
One way that stress affects the body is by causing a depletion or blockage of Qi, especially that of the kidneys and adrenals. Qi (pronotmced “chee”) is the vital energy or power that animates and supports the functions of the body. It ﬂows through speciﬁc pathways, called meridians, and provides nourishment for the entire body. When Qi becomes “blocked” or the supply is inadequate, the body and organ systems become “stressed out” and our health is then compromised.
With acupuncture, the practitioner’s job is to support and restore the integrity of the various organs affected and depleted by the stress response, along with evaluating the quality and quantity of Qi.
Your acupuncturist may also suggest adjunct therapies to enhance treatment and speed healing. Proper eating habits, as well as the use of exercise, stretching, movement and meditation practices, support and promote a balanced and healthy body, mind and spirit.