BY: JESS CLAYTON, M.AC., L.AC. – DECEMBER 3, 2018 – ACUPUNCTURE
The holidays are upon us and while many find December to be their favorite and most joyous time of the year, there are plenty who feel the weight of the holidays in a much different way. The best parts of the holiday season can often be overshadowed by stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression. With the end of the year approaching, the travel, family get togethers and extra social events can bring along reduced sleep, poor eating habits and stressful preparations. Holiday stress can lead to poor immune system functioning causing colds and flus, insomnia, anxiety and depression. We have all the felt the realities of holiday stress and it can be challenging to find ways to relax during the season. Let acupuncture be your secret weapon to combating your stress!
Stress along with anxiety and depression are the top most reasons that patients tend to seek acupuncture. Chronic stress can manifest in a wide range of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual symptoms. Signs and symptoms of stress can vary from one individual to the next which is why acupuncture is such a great tool to create balance and reduce the stress. Your acupuncturist looks at the unique individuality of you and your symptoms in order to create a treatment tailored specifically for you. Nearly 77% of people admit that they experience the physical symptoms of stress. This can cause a disruption of the qi throughout the body. Imbalances in qi can create chaos in the immune system or cause symptoms of pain, muscle tightness, sleep disturbances, digestive issues, headaches and over time more serious illnesses can develop.
Acupuncture treatment can correct imbalances of qi within the body and directly affects the way that your body manages stress. The focus of acupuncture treatments during the winter months, when stress during the holiday season is high, focuses on nourishing the qi in the body which can strengthen the body’s ability to handle stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality. Acupuncture treatments helps to create balance within the body on a physical, mental and emotional level which helps to promote relaxation, calms the mind and creates harmony. You can almost think of acupuncture like physical therapy for your nervous system because it allows the brain to calm, clear and relax which in turn leads to physical relaxation throughout the entire nervous system. When our nervous systems are in balance we feel good and are able to think clearer and breathe deeper.
When we are under stress, our sympathetic nervous system is active. This is known as the fight or flight response which is great if we are being chased by a bear or need to fight for our lives. On a day to day basis however, to be in fight or flight mode leads to tense muscles, constriction in the chest, shallow breathing, fleeting thoughts and mental fogginess. The parasympathetic response on the other hand is known as the rest and digest mode which helps to bring our bodies back into balance. Acupuncture creates beneficial changes in the central nervous system functioning and triggers the parasympathetic response which induces deep relaxation. Some patients even report falling asleep during treatment! Acupuncture also boosts the immune system by supporting the body’s natural defense mechanisms by improving the flow and circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients. The last thing that you need during the holiday season is a cold or flu to add to the chaos!
Self-care can be hard to think about during the stressful times of the holiday season but perhaps now is the most important time to add acupuncture treatments to your routine. Acupuncture is known for its ability to lower stress and has been used for years to help manage stress levels. When a patient receives an acupuncture treatment, they can expect to feel more comfortable and relaxed, have the ability to breathe deeper, have a calmer mind, loose muscles and less constriction throughout their bodies while on the table. Consider giving yourself or someone you love the gift of acupuncture this holiday season to reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.