Many of my patients come to me because they’re looking for relief from physical aches and pains.
Once we’re chatting in my treatment room, I often hear another aspect to the story.
What’s really keeping them awake at night – usually quite literally – is sky-high levels of stress and distress.
It could be a long-term relationship is breaking down.
Perhaps you’re worried about your performance at work.
Many people get extremely wound up themselves when they see their children – of whatever age – stressed out at school, university and work or struggling to cope with their own family dynamics.
And of course, caring for our own parents into old age brings its own emotional as well as physical challenges.
Believe me, you’re not alone if you say yes to all of the above.
If you’re having a tough time, here are five ways acupuncture can help you cope better with stress and anxiety.
1: Acupuncture can help with those physical aches and pains, from headaches to osteoarthritis.
The mechanisms underlying how acupuncture is effective for pain relief have been researched in detail for more than 60 years. Acupuncture has been shown to activate the body’s own pain-killing compounds and to increase the brain’s sensitivity to these naturally produced analgesics.
2. Acupuncture encourages the release of endorphins – the body’s own feel good chemicals.
Endorphins play a key part in regulating our body’s physical response to stress – heart rate, blood pressure and our digestive system.
3. Acupuncture activates neurotransmitters encouraging us to relax.
When we’re stressed and anxious, the area of the brain called the hypothalamus releases neurochemicals that encourage our ‘fight or flight’ response. Research shows that acupuncture can quiet this response.
4. Sleep. Let’s not forget sleep! Most trials have found that acupuncture is significantly more effective at helping patients with difficulty sleeping than existing conventional drugs – without their level of side effects.
However, if you’re already taking sleeping tablets, research shows that acupuncture can safely be combined with conventional treatments for insomnia. Researchers have also found that acupuncture reduces side effects and enhances the beneficial effects of conventional sleep medications your GP may prescribe.
5. Acupuncture is all about you.
Some of my patients don’t want to talk beyond the bare minimum. Others need to talk as they reach an understanding in their own minds of what’s going on. Some find my treatment room a safe place to ‘vent’ and express their frustration. Tears are not unusual. Acupuncture is about you and where you are right now. As an acupuncturist, I have the time to listen as well as the skills and knowledge that will support you to be and do your best through tough times.
For more detail on the research mentioned in this article and to find out more about the evidence base for acupuncture in general, visit:
The British Acupuncture Council https://www.acupuncture.org.uk
Evidence Based Acupuncture https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org