Stress is an aspect of life that we all have to deal with, but sometimes it can become life consuming. People have a tendency to let stress run their life and they often don’t have the skills to deal with its overwhelming nature. If you’re interested in learning about stress in our lives, keep reading for information on how it impacts the body, how acupuncture can relieve it and other natural stress management methods.
How Stress Negatively Impacts the Body
Do you live a stressful life? Do you tell yourself it’s not a big deal and you’ll relax when you’re dead? Read the following ways stress has a negative impact on the mind and body from Health. They may make you want to take care of yourself.
1. Storing Fat
"You can clearly correlate stress to weight gain," says Philip Hagen, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Part of that link is due to poor eating during stress, but the stress hormone cortisol may also increase the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and enlarge the size of fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more deep-abdominal fat.
People exposed to common cold viruses are less likely to fight off the germs successfully if they have ongoing psychological stress in their lives.
Researchers think that stressed people's immune cells may be less sensitive to a hormone that turns off inflammation, which could offer a clue to why stress can be correlated with more serious diseases as well.
3. Work Life
Studies of employees ranging from people who work in the military to bankers show that stress reduces productivity and satisfaction at work, and is linked to depression too.
What are the solutions for workplace stress? Ask your employer to offer stress-management training, which can address company-wide stressors like weak communication channels as well as focusing on stress busters for individuals.
"Stress clearly has an effect on productivity, and the costs of that for employers can be very high," Dr. Hagen points out.
Do you think a restless night’s sleep is normal? Stress can cause hyperarousal, a biological state in which people just don't feel tired.
While major stressful events can cause insomnia that passes once the stress is over, long-term exposure to chronic stress can also disrupt sleep and contribute to sleep disorders.
"Fight or flight" chemicals like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol can cause vascular changes that leave you with a tension headache or migraine, either during the stress or in the "let-down" period afterwards.
Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can interfere with the brain's ability to form new memories.
With acute stress, the hormone also interferes with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other. That can make it hard to think straight or retrieve memories.
How to Use Acupuncture for Stress Relief
It is so important to manage stress; acupuncture is a great way to do so. Keep reading for information from Everyday Health on how this treatment can help.
Acupuncture is a holistic system based upon twelve primary channels and eight extraordinary vessels in the body, in which Qi (vital-energy) circulates. When the balance within the body is disrupted, the flow of vital-energy can become blocked leading to pain, discomfort and illness. Acupuncture needles are used at specific points to stimulate the Qi along the channels to harmonize the body and bring balance (health) where there was once imbalance causing illness and pain.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, Qi Gong is an ancient system using gentle movements, intention and the breath to reduce stress, increase flexibility and improve health.
In a literal translation, Qi Gong means “energy work.” Qi Gong breaks down energy blockages and promotes the free flow of energy throughout your body’s meridian system, the invisible pathways through which Qi moves and that connect everything in your body.
Consistent Qi Gong practice increases and balances your body’s Qi. Working directly on your body’s meridian system—your energy body—it stimulates and nourishes the internal organs, making the energetic communication between them more efficient. And by increasing the effectiveness of all body systems, Qi Gong helps conserve Qi.
We offer personal Qi Gong lessons; contact us today to schedule your own appointment.
While this concept may seem tried to some, fellow acupuncture expert, Daniel Hsu, DAOM (Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), LAc, a practitioner at New York AcuHealth Acupuncture in New York City, told Everyday Health that Qi is just a metaphor for metabolic function, or the chemical reactions constantly taking place in the body.
“Acupuncturists insert each needle half a millimeter away from a nerve, Dr. Hsu explains. Depending on where the needles go, acupuncture can cause the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals, jump-start the body’s natural ability to heal itself or stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety. All of these results, Hsu adds, can help people feel more balanced and treat a variety of illnesses.
Hsu says acupuncture has increased in popularity since the 1970s simply because it works, and now there’s growing research supporting its effectiveness for anxiety and other mental conditions.
For instance, in a study published online in October 2013 in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, students who underwent a 20-minute acupuncture session were found to have less anxiety and better memory immediately afterward than those who didn't have acupuncture.”
Acupuncture is a natural and effective way to relieve stress; by scheduling an appointment, I can help you take your stress away.
Natural Stress Relief Methods
Our schedules are busy and we tend to have more things to do than there are hours in a day. These over packed calendars can lead to illness, poor energy levels, affect productivity and the many other negative influences we listed above. To avoid getting derailed by a busy schedule, use these methods from the American Psychological Association to manage stress naturally.
Meditation is one of the best forms of stress relief. One does not have to find themselves sitting on a mountain with their eyes closed to be meditating. Anyone can do this no matter where they are; just engage in, “thoughtless awareness,” where your mind stops racing and you find peace.
2. Me Time
When you think, “If I just had 5 minutes to myself,” what are you doing? Are you taking a quick nap, reading a tabloid or enjoying a meal? Whatever you imagine yourself doing, do it! You may just find yourself relaxed and able to sleep better at night.
3. Qi Gong
Here Qi gong is again! This is the practice of aligning the body through movement, posture and breathing. Everyone, from children to the elderly, can benefit from this calming exercise. We hold free morning classes for all experience levels.
4. Take a Break from the Source of Stress
It may seem like an impossible task to get away from the thing that is stressing you out, especially when it’s a crying baby or an overdue credit card bill. However, when you give yourself permission to get away from the stress, you let yourself have time to think about something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice different methods to feel less overwhelmed.
It’s true what people say: exercise is good for the body and mind. Even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.
6. Smile and Laugh
Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face; so, laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.
7. Get Social Support
Don’t underestimate the power of a good talk. Consider calling a friend or sending an email to get whatever is going on off your chest. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress.
Managing the Stress in Your Life
While stress is a natural part of life, we have to be sure we don’t let it take over our lives. It can lead to problems with weight, illness, work, insomnia and more. There are things you can do to manage stress such as engaging in acupuncture, meditation and asking for support. Contact us today to schedule an acupuncture appointment and to learn about how Traditional Chinese Medicine can benefit your life.
About Green Lake Natural Health:
Green Lake Natural Health provides natural healing services and medicinal herb counseling to patients. The mission of Green Lake Natural Health is to provide customized care to patients to effectively treat their health concerns in a natural manner that restores harmony and healing in the body. Services include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, massage, medicinal herb counseling to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and more. Proudly serving the Seattle community since 2010.