3 Acupuncture Points to Reduce Stress

 

The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but there is only one that matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. The definition is this, “stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.” And while most people think of stress as being detrimental, it truly does have a function in our bodies. Stress is the body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we don’t listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses.

 

Cortisol is the hormone most closely related to stress. Cortisol is a big component of the “fight or flight” response we feel when we are scared or threatened. And in small bursts, cortisol is helpful. However, when stress becomes chronic, the cortisol levels become elevated and never return to normal. This puts the body in a constant state of being on edge, eventually causing insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and even mental illness.

 

There are ways to fight and reduce stress though. Simple things like exercise, meditation, coloring, talking with friends and even acupuncture. Admittedly, most people don’t think of being stuck with tiny needles as “relaxing”, but it really is. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and it is becoming more mainstream every single day. It is even being used in some hospital emergency rooms for those who are in pain and anxious.

 

Acupuncture acts like physical therapy for the nervous system. The tiny needles re-train the nervous system and the brain to behave as it should normally. For the nervous system to act and respond accordingly, cortisol has to be at normal levels and only used when a true “fight or flight” situation occurs. Studies show acupuncture does this.

 

There are over 400 acupressure points on the body and another 100 or more in the ears. But within all these choices, there are certain points that are much better for treating stress. Here are three great choices for dealing with your stress levels.

 

Yin Tang – This point is located midway between the inner ends of the eyebrows. Yin Tang is used to treat stress, anxiety and insomnia. It is also a great point to use for eye issues, nasal problems and headaches.

 

Ren 17 – Located in the center of the chest, midway between the nipples on the breastbone or sternum, this point is great for opening the chest. Many people feel chest tightness and constriction when they become stressed. This point will definitely help. It is frequently used to treat anxiety, depression and nervousness, as well as asthma or other lung issues. It can also be added to treatments to help with digestive issues or heart problems like palpitations.

 

Heart 7 – This point is located on the underside of the wrist crease on the outer edge. It is found in the depression on the outer side of the tendon. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this point is used to calm the mind and heart. It works well for anxiety, stress and anger too.

 

 

If stress is something you experience frequently, seeking out a licensed acupuncturist might just be the remedy you need to get it under control. And don’t forget that long-term mental stress can turn into physical stress that leads to disease. So what are you waiting for?

 

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Research Update: TCM and Cold Prevention

A study published by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine concludes acupuncture treatments can indeed help treat the common cold. The study followed 187 participants based on the onset of when the cold occurred. The participants were divided into two groups. The first group reported an onset time of cold symptoms within 36 hours and the second group reported an onset of symptoms greater than 36 hours.  Both groups showed significant decreases in symptoms, as well as cold duration. This study demonstrates how receiving acupuncture treatments can shorten the length of time a person deals with the common cold and its symptoms.

 

Everybody has suffered from the common cold at some point along this journey called life. The common cold is an acute viral infection that affects the throat and nasal passages. Symptoms of a cold may include headaches, fatigue, a sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, a runny nose and coughing. With the normal progression of a cold, the throat symptoms, such as coughing, tend to be worse around the fifth day, while the nasal symptoms are nearing the end of their duration. Overall, the symptoms of the common cold tend to last about seven to 10 days. The typical treatment for a cold is to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, taking in enough fluids and using steam to break up the mucus in the nasal passages. Because the common cold is caused by a viral infection, the virus must be allowed to run its course, while the symptoms are merely managed.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a different approach though. It utilizes modalities like acupuncture, cupping and herbal formulas that can dramatically decrease the severity of symptoms and time that somebody suffers from a cold.

 

The practice of acupuncture is supposed to be used as preventive medicine. Not to say acupuncture can’t be used to treat already existing ailments, because it can, and it works very well in this capacity, but isn’t it better to avoid getting sick than to wait until the ailment is already affecting you? This is where acupuncture can help. Regular acupuncture treatments can increase your immunity, which will help fight off any disease, including the common cold. Acupuncture also helps decrease stress which can be a key factor in any disease. Studies indicate when the body is relaxed and not stressed, the immune system functions more efficiently.

 

Cupping, another technique utilized in TCM, helps boost the immune system. Cupping creates negative pressure that suctions the skin into the cup. This action causes the cells in the body to develop a greater number of receptors on the surface that can better respond to an enzyme known as heme oxygenase 1. This enzyme acts as an antioxidant that protects your body against harmful elements like the common cold virus.

 

TCM also uses herbs to prevent and treat many ailments, including the common cold.  For instance, herbs like licorice root, also known as Gan Cao in TCM, can be used to treat a cough. It also has the ability to boost the immune system and help get rid of mucus in the respiratory tract. Cinnamon, or Gui Zhi, is another commonly used herb that helps ward off the common cold.

 

With all this evidence, it makes perfect sense to start using Traditional Chinese Medicine as a method of preventing the common cold.

 

 

 

 

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Healthy Eating According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Do you consider yourself a healthy eater? Do you follow the guidelines set forth by the government for healthy eating? Or have you gone rogue? There are as many different definitions of healthy as there are colors in the rainbow. But according to traditional Chinese medicine, there are certain guidelines that will keep the body happy and healthy throughout life. Let’s explore this a little deeper. continue reading »

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Herbal Formulas for Summer

Summer. The word alone stirs up thoughts of campfires, flip flops, popsicles, swimming and long sunny days. However, for many people it also means sunburns, mosquito bites and excessive sweating. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to deal with all of these issues. Sipping on some refreshing lemonade or munching on a slice of watermelon are some traditional ways to cool off. But Traditional Chinese Medicine has some other less common ways of treating summer ailments. continue reading »

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Five Acupuncture Points for Summer

Summer is a season of abundant energy and light, long days, pool parties, ice cream and lemonade. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes summer as the time of year that has the utmost yang and therefore the element associated with summer is fire. In TCM, there are specific energetic pathways related to each season and element. For the season of summer, the heart and small intestine are the connected pathways. continue reading »

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