- Do you feel fatigued? Does your energy drop in the later morning or early afternoon?
- Do you have trouble losing weight? Do you wonder why you crave sweets and sugary foods or salty food all of the time?
- Do you feel so exhausted that you cannot finish your workouts?
- Do you experience trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?
- Have you simply lost your pep? Playfulness? Ability to relax or feel calm and centered?
If you have answered yes to any two of these questions, the chances are you are suffering from the negative effects of stress.
If you are like most people you find that life is a big tug of war. Less energy, weight gain, sleepless nights, emotional up and downs, and less stamina.
You might think it is sheer laziness or that you just need a vacation to make it all better. While it is true that a vacation will help, once the work demands are placed back on you, you will be back in the same place. Don’t suffer. You truly are experiencing the effects of stress. Stress is ravaging you physically and emotionally.
Since you cannot escape the effects of stress, it begins to take its toll on you. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict leading to High Blood pressure. High stress hormones also affect your blood sugar levels by causing your body to release more and more insulin in your blood stream leading to weight gain, sweet cravings poorly managed diet and frustration with weight loss and your body image. Stress hormone can throw off circadian rhythms so that you are awake all day but feel so sleepy during the day, particularly in the early afternoon. Stress can reduce your short term memory, causing you to feel more restless and anxious.
Why This Is Occurring
The adrenal glands are two almond shaped glands that sit above the kidneys. The adrenal glands are the stress glands of the body. When the environment is hostile to the body the reaction is to fight or run. Both of these reactions cause the secretion of adrenal gland hormones. These glands, designed to prepare the body for a temporary emergency can and usually do become exhaustive and over reactive with prolonged environmental stresses. What that means to you is that you lose your verve for life, you have less energy, you gain weight easily, and you crave sweets and experience sleeping problems. This is also a “missing” key in the treatment of female hormone disorders as well as the adrenal gland and the ability to release long term stress hormones has a direct link to your cycle – all sorts of symptoms (PMS, Migraine, Cramping during cycle) may occur as a result.
Acupuncture – Not Just for Pain
Acupuncture has been known for reducing pain, but what many people do not know is that acupuncture can be an effective way to reduce stress, enhance stamina and help re-center and give you a sense of inner calm. Best of all, acupuncture uses no medication to achieve these effects making this drug free approach ideal for the stressed out person.
Learn why so many people have been turning to acupuncture for helping them feel refreshed, rebalanced and having more energy stores.
A recent study in March of 2013 found that acupuncture could be tapping into basic biological systems that keep stress under control.
Reporting in the Journal of Endocrinology, researchers led by Ladan Eshkevari, assistant program director of the nurse anesthesia program at Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, mimicked chronic stress in a rat model and documented how stimulating certain body points with acupuncture can alter stress hormones.
The body’s stress response is triggered by two main pathways, one of which involves the HPA axis, or hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, in which these areas of the brain are activated to release peptides and proteins such as corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). They, in turn, launch the production of other hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine that rev up the anxiety meter. Once activated, the system causes the heart to beat faster and the senses to go on alert. It also diverts the body’s energy away from background operations such as digestion to prime and fuel the muscles into a state of readiness.
MORE: The Two Faces of Anxiety
All of this is normal and necessary for protecting mammals, including us, from potential threats. But when stress becomes chronic, beating us down hour after hour and day after day, it’s no longer helpful and can become harmful. “People under chronic stress don’t handle acute stress very well,” says Eshkevari. “In chronic stress, the cortisol levels are elevated and never come back down to baseline, so people end up with insomnia or depressed or anxious because of the constant ramping up of this system.”
When Eshkevari, who is a nurse anesthetist, noticed that many of her patients who used acupuncture to treat pain reported sleeping better and feeling better able to cope with their pain, even if the needling did not relieve the pain itself, she wondered whether acupuncture might help to reduce stress.
Areas Acupuncture For Stress Has Been Used
IVF Procedures: Women who undergo IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) reproductive procedures use acupuncture to help promote circulation to their ovaries and additionally help them relax before this procedure.
Dental Work: The gag reflex is a psychological reaction which prevents the airway from swallowing any foreign bodies. In some people the response is exaggerated by the fear they have of going through with a dental treatment. Acupuncture is used to control the fear induced reflex.
Soldiers: Soldiers are getting acupuncture, known as “Battlefield acupuncture” to control the anxiety symptoms after returning from the field or a mission.
Pre-Op Surgery Stress: Patients have used acupuncture to control their anxiety before a surgery. Patients who received acupuncture prior to surgery reported a greater than 50% decrease in their anxiety. When patients have high levels of anxiety and stress hormones, they lose sleep and cannot relax before an operation. .This compromises the patient’s ability to recover and reduces the chances for a good outcome free of complications (increased risk of infection, poor digestion and elimination, restless sleep, increased pain levels and poor healing of surgical incisions).
People are turning to acupuncture to treat stress-related tension, anxiety, and depression.
Overstimulation and overscheduling saps us of energy. Our bodies are made to adapt to short term stresses. Something our ancestors had to deal with real life and death situations such as fighting tigers for survival. Modern day people deal with more overstimulation and stress full events as the pace of life has become more virtual, you are required to do more and more -people work longer hours, have family obligations, obligations to themselves and deal with constant barrage of overstimulation from TV and smart phones demanding more and more of your attention. Many times you can’t even find the time to eat a meal and must skip a meal. Many events are non stress producing, but when combined, they create an overscheduled, herculean day, awaiting you.
What is the consequence of all this overstimulation? Enter the negative effects of stress hormones. When you are under lot of stress, your body will start producing stress hormones. Over time the short term hormones such as adrenaline, start to fade off and your body is forced to release cortisol, a long-term acting stress hormone. This hormone is responsible for the following:
Inability to get a good night’s sleep: Cortisol changes your circadian rhythms so you become tired during the day and more awake at night. It is similar to being jet lagged day in and day out. Without restorative sleep, the body just weakens further.
Inability to lose weight: Insulin prevents you from burning fat and it is expected to have higher insulin levels after you’ve eaten so your body can manage the sugar, but long term stress causes your insulin levels to remain elevated thwarting you ability to reduce weight, despite how Harder to deal with day to day stresses: When the body is in more of a panic mode, it means the part of the nervous system wired for the “fight or flight” response is acting as if you were fighting a saber tooth tiger to the death. Your body is perceiving all stimuli as things that are life threatening. Over time this taxes your nervous system making you jittery, anxious, moody, irritable and impatient. It also makes you more prone to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and diabetes. Your body wasn’t designed for you to react to continuous stressful states.
Acupuncture, nutrition/supplementation and life style habits are the keys to beating stress and reclaiming your life. Ponder this.
If you were to enter a battle, where your life was literally on the line, wouldn’t you carefully plan the battle, assess the risks and find the best way to make it out alive? The same holds true for managing stress. Your body is in the middle of a battle with stress. Why wait until you get depressed, fatigued, have high blood pressure, diabetes? Why suffer anymore? Turn back the hands of time and learn how acupuncture, supplementation, Chinese herbs, diet and lifestyle can make a change and revolutionize the way you feel.
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Read more: Needle This: Study Hints at How Acupuncture Works to Relieve Stress | TIME.com