Article Part 2: During an acupuncture treatment, specific points are selected based upon a patient’s symptoms and after examination of the patient, by palpation of the pulse at the wrist and observation of the tongue. This point selection is unique to each patients presenting pattern and aims to restore smooth flow of energy to encourage the body and mind to relax.
Acupuncture can be used for anxiety and depression and associated symptoms of stress such as headaches and sleep disturbance.
Some research suggests acupuncture may involve release of dopamine, serotonin and other brain chemicals as one of its effects.
The types of conditions caused by or aggravated by stress that people choose to have treated with acupuncture include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Pain – commonly neck tension
- Nicotine-withdrawal anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans
- Premenstrual syndrome or menstrual disorders
- Sleep disturbances including insomnia, waking early
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Herbal remedies numbering in the thousands, from simple teas to complex decoctions, are a widely known (and used) component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). A number of studies done in Europe, Asia and North America over the past decade suggest that between 50%-80% of patients ranging in age from teenagers to the elderly use some form of alternative medicine, most often a herb or herbal compound.
Many traditional herbal remedies for sleeplessness and nausea have long-demonstrated safety. Ginseng, green tea, chamomile, and peppermint teas are used around the world to calm and reduce anxiety, depression and stress.
Biochemical components of many herbs are exciting researchers with a variety of demonstrated effects on protective, activating and inhibiting actions, important immune functions, antioxidant activity, and actions on brain chemicals.
The most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formula for stress is Xiao Yao San (Free Wanderer’s Powder). This herbal combination is effective at smoothing the flow of Qi in the body, harmonizing digestion, and strengthening the Blood. Chinese herbs come in either powder or pill form.
Other Modalities that Work well with Acupuncture
Acupuncture often has synergistic effects with other treatments. Several recent studies indicate that qigong, tai chi and meditation energy treatments combined with standard medical interventions often produce better outcomes than either treatment alone.
Shiatsu and Tui na massage are hands-on techniques to restore the flow of energy to the joints, muscles and energy meridians. Both these regimens work with acupressure points. Massage has a long history of therapeutic effect with patients of all ages from infants to the aged. The body’s ability to heal itself is enhanced when the patient’s mind and muscles relax.
A proven technique for calming the mind and, by doing so, promoting the restoration and maintenance of natural hormonal and biochemical balances by reducing stress-caused imbalances, meditation is a mental activity with proven physiological effects. Meditation focuses the mind narrowly, calming heart rate, respiration, and dampening the activities of stress-related chemicals.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has long recognized the connection of the mind to the body’s health; recent research has demonstrated the complex communication network between the central nervous system, the brain, and the endocrine system. (reference)
Qigong/Tai Chi Exercise
The physical activities of Qigong and Tai Chi help the body and the mind through concentration and precise movements that gently stretch and energize the body. The resulting harmony unblocks energy flow – or, in the Western perspective, improves respiratory, circulatory and cardiovascular activity.
A major advantage of qigong and tai chi exercise is its adaptability – effective routines can be designed for people of any age and any physical conditions including those with disabilities or limited mobility.
If you live in Auckland, then the Acupuncture Studio can help with stress related conditions. Let us help. To book an appointment call Auckland (09) 815 1551.