Did you know that a little stress can be essential?
Human beings have natural built in mechanisms that help us to know how much effort to exert. These environmental cues are essential to keep us safe in a world that can be difficult to navigate. Well-managed stressors can be good motivation for us to keep reaching for our full potential.
The human body also reacts to stress appropriately when faced with a “fight or flight” situation and adrenaline is released inside the body. This is the reaction that helps us cope in a disaster or stressful situation. Imbalance occurs when this reaction is frequent and is not due to outside factors. The body can become used to the adrenaline and corticosteroid release and become dependent on this state.
When stress gets out of control, it can manifest itself in a virtually unlimited number of ways, including headaches, muscle spasms, depression, insomnia, hypertension, and inappropriate social behavior. Increased heart rate, changes in breathing patterns, muscle tension and high blood pressure are common reactions from a change in brain chemistry that occurs with stress. And chronic stress can lead to serious health repercussions.
However, acupuncture has been shown to greatly reduce stress!
The Journal of Endocrinology recently published a Georgetown study in its April, 2013 issue on how acupuncture can significantly reduce the stress hormone response in an animal that models chronic stress.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center conducted the research on the procedure, which is already commonly used on humans to treat chronic stress. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists funded the study, and co-authors include Georgetown researchers Susan Mulroney and Eva Permaul.
The researchers found that electronic acupuncture blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of blood hormones and a peptide secreted by the sympathetic nervous system.
“Many practitioners of acupuncture have observed that this ancient practice can reduce stress in their patients, but there is a lack of biological proof of how or why this happens,” says the study’s lead author Ladan Eshkevari, an associate professor of nursing at the School of Nursing & Health Studies. “We’re starting to understand what’s going on at the molecular level that helps explain acupuncture’s benefit.”
Eshkevari, a physiologist, nurse anesthetist and certified acupuncturist, designed a series of studies in rats to test the effect of electronic acupuncture on levels of proteins and hormones secreted by biologic pathways involved in stress response.
Rats are often used to research the biological determinants of stress, because they regularly have a stress response when exposed to cold temperatures for an hour a day.
“Our growing body of evidence points to acupuncture’s protective effect against the stress response,” says Eshkevari, assistant director of the school’s Nurse Anesthesia Program.
This is excellent news indeed.
When acupuncture is used for human beings, it has the added benefit of re-uniting the body with the mind so that the flow of electricity, blood, lymph, and qi (life force) is harmonious in the body. The end result is a place of peace; a solid foundation for managing stress. The positive changes that occur as a result of an acupuncture session can last a long time, and are cumulative in effect.
There are many relevant point sites, and the choice depends on each person’s complete story of signs and symptoms. The treatment is gentle, painless, and relaxing. Lots of relief from even the first treatment!
For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com
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Photo by Petr Kratochvil