Relieving Stress & Anxiety with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Stress and anxiety this is something that more and more of my patients are experiencing daily and finding that it is interfering with their health and happiness. Recently there have been several medical studies showing the relationship between high stress levels and decreased health.
Some common symptoms of stress
- anger, irritability, frustration
- stiffness in the muscles, commonly neck and shoulders
- trouble sleeping
- irregular menstrual cycle
- premenstrual symptoms, moodiness, breast distension, bloating
- migraine or tension headaches
- chest constriction, anxiety
- frequent sighing
- gastrointestinal disorders
- poor concentration
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
What can You do to Manage Stress?
Acupuncture releases endorphins and serotonin within the brain and has a deep relaxing effect on the body, many people fall asleep while the needles are in. A medical study done at the University of California found that acupuncture decreases the sympathetic nerve activity during mental stress, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Many people feel more energetic and calm after as little as one treatment and have a marked improvement after 6-10.
Herbal Medicine is also effective to help manage stress and control the symptoms of stress within the body. Personalized herbal formulas in granule or capsule form can help with insomnia, digestive complaints, fatigue, headaches, menstruation, PMS symptoms, IBS, anxiety and muscle tension. Herbal medicine can be used alone or is most effective when combined with acupuncture treatments.
Acupressure is a treatment that can be performed by yourself or a partner at home. Stimulating certain acupuncture points on the body help to relieve stress and aid in circulation of energy.
- LI4 – located between the thumb and second finger at the highest point of the web between the fingers. This point helps to release emotional mental and biological toxins from the body.
- Liver 3- located in the web between the first and second toe. This point in conjunction with LI4 is called the four gates, points used to open the channels and remove stagnation and toxicity.
- P6- located two inches up from the wrist crease on the palm side in the middle of the forearm between the two tendons. This point is used to help calm the mind.
Lifestyle Suggestions to Lower Stress
Breathing– Many of us are shallow breathers, breathing from the upper lungs, this can often be amplified with stress. Shallow breathing does not allow the qi to circulate properly within the body. I recommend spending 5-10 minutes a day focusing on your breath and bringing the inhalation down to the belly and expanding your diaphragm and on exhalation releasing air and contracting the diaphragm. Breathing exercises will have a profound effect to lower stress levels.
Meditation/ Visualization– Taking 10-20 minutes a day to meditate or use positive visualizations dramatically lower stress levels.
Exercise– Moderate exercise helps to reduce stress and effects endorphins released from the brain.
Yoga Pilates, Qi gong – these exercises focus on the breath and help to calm the mind and body
Friends and Family– having a support group is very important to help minimize stress. Allow time during the week to spend with friends and family.
Therapist– Often it can be beneficial to speak with someone who is trained to help you deal with stress and make positive changes in your life.
My first session is still vivid: she sat with me and took her time to do an exceptionally thorough intake, asking questions about every aspect of my health. I remember leaving feeling wonderfully cared for.