How is stress affecting your life? Is it a minor annoyance like a train delay messing up your commute, or is it impacting your health in a more fundamental way? The Chinese have known for thousands of years that stress can cause disease. Furthermore, they believed that emotions of all kinds can, over time, cause physical pain and get stored in the body. In Chinese Medicine we call this qi (pronounced chee) stagnation. Thanks to modern research and according to the Mayo clinic, we now know that untreated chronic stress causes weight gain, depression, fatigue, headaches, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating and retaining information among others! We know that physiologically stress increases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline which elevate blood pressure, suppress the reproductive and immune systems, and disrupt digestion.
So when that familiar surge of frustration arises what happens to your body? Does your chest or stomach tighten? Do you clench your fists? Does your face flush? Do you lose your appetite or reach for food? Maybe you just feel like crying sometimes. Regardless of the physical manifestation, you can bet it’s our friend Qi Stagnation making an unwanted appearance!
Regardless of whether the stress comes at work, in relationship, or something from inside of ourselves, acupuncture can help. By becoming aware of our bodily sensations and feelings we can begin to work with stress instead of fight against it. In my work I use guided visualizations, intentional breathing, essential oils, as well as fine acupuncture needles to redirect the bodies energy and promote homeostasis. This can be a profound step towards a greater sense of hope, ease, and general wellbeing. While acupuncture cannot change the stresses of your life, it can help you respond to them in a more balanced way. Working from “the inside out,” acupuncture can become a powerful ally and addition to your self-care routine.
The Chinese have a saying, “If there is pain, there is no free flow; if there is free flow, there is no pain.” Together we can promote more free flow in our bodies and in our lives.