Anxiety | Depression | Stress | Insomnia
The holistic approach of Acupuncture recognizes the interplay of the mind and the emotions with the physical body. This means emotional imbalances can affect your physical health and vice versa.
Prolonged emotional disorders can wear down the body, possibly causing further health problems and affecting your daily activities.
Acupuncture has the wonderful ability to relax the body and calm the mind allowing the body to restore its natural balance and prevent chronic illness from developing.
Of course, there are so many factors affecting your emotional well being, some of which you have no control over; medical conditions, work, family matters, commitments, major life changes, traumas etc. Acupuncture trains your body to rest between the triggers to your anxiety or stress. Treatments allow your body to let go physically and mentally, restores your body to return to your day to day life.
Acupuncture treatment whilst seeing a mental health care specialist for mental disorders, such as chronic anxiety and clinical depression is recommended. Acupuncture can be safely combined with conventional medical treatments such as anti-depressants, helping to reduce their side effects and enhance their beneficial effects.
Stress generates the “fight or flight” response that greatly affects our body, especially when chronic or repeated.
Acupuncture is known to regulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes relaxes the body and calms the mind, allowing the body to restore its natural balance and help you cope with your day to day life.
- Muscle tension is a common reaction to stress. This tension is often found in the shoulders, neck and head that can cause neck and shoulder pain, tension type headaches and migraines. Muscle tension can lead to other chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
- Stress can make you breathe harder. This can cause problems for people with asthma or other lung conditions. Stress can trigger asthma attacks and panic attacks in people prone to these conditions.
- The risk for hypertension, heart attack or stroke is increased by chronic stress. Chronic stress also contributes to inflammation, now believed to affect cholesterol levels. Inflammation is also a source to many diseases, possibly even cancer.
- The risk for heart disease associated with stress is higher for post-menopausal women due to their loss of estrogen. Estrogen appears to help blood vessels respond better during stress, protecting them against heart disease.
- Stress causes the nervous system to generate the “fight or flight” response “Stress hormones”, epinephrine and cortisol are released. This causes the Liver to produce more glucose (a blood sugar) to give you energy for “fight or flight” in an emergency. If you do not use the extra energy released it reabsorbed by the body that can cause weight gain (especially around the midsection) and can lead to diabetes.
- The digestive system is also vulnerable to stress. Stress may make you eat much more or much less than usual. If you eat more, change your diet or increase your use of alcohol or tobacco as a result of your stress, you may experience heartburn (acid reflux).
- Stomach pain or nausea is not unusual in people suffering from stress and this can progress to stomach ulcers with chronic stress.
- Stress influences digestion by affecting the absorption of beneficial nutrients. It can cause constipation or more commonly diarrhea and is linked to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
- Studies have shown in men that prolonged stress can affect testosterone production and sperm production and maturation. Low levels of testosterone can contribute to: fatigue, hair loss, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, mood changes, loss of muscle and bone mass and increased body fat.
- A Woman’s menstrual cycle is readily disrupted by stress. Stress in women can cause Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), infertility, absent cycles and painful or irregular cycles. Stress can also make a woman’s menopausal symptoms worse.
- Stress affects the immune system, making all systems of the body vulnerable to infection. Indicators to a weakened immune system are: frequent sore throats, colds or flu, urinary tract infections, diarrhea and slow healing wounds.
- Chronic stress can also cause severe fatigue, depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Anxiety is a chronic feeling of excessive worry and fear. It is often accompanied by restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, muscle tension, dizziness, palpitations and sleep disturbance.
Common signs are shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, diarrhea and trembling. Anxiety can exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, tension headaches and back pain.
Anxiety is commonly a response to life stresses and traumatic events. It may also be caused by: a medical condition affecting the endocrine system, drugs, medication, other mental disorder (especially depression) and genetics.
There is surprisingly little research with a primary focus on Acupuncture for generalised anxiety disorder. However, Acupuncture is known to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of certain chemicals. The resulting biochemical changes relaxes the body and calms the mind, allowing the body to restore its natural balance and help you cope with your day to day life.
Although everyone occasionally experiences low mood, these feelings usually pass after a couple of days. Clinical depression is when it become chronic and recurrent, interfering with daily life.
Depression causes symptoms such as low mood, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, disturbed sleep or appetite, weight change, tiredness, lack of motivation, poor concentration, low libido, physical pain, and suicidal thoughts.
Depression is likely to result from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors. It may be triggered by stressful events, such as bereavement, illness, relationship problems or financial difficulties.
Most research on Acupuncture for depression has been carried out in China with Western drugs as comparators. Two recent studies found that Acupuncture was similar in effectiveness to anti-depressant medication (that have side effects).
Acupuncture is known to have a specific positive effect on depression by stimulating the release of serotonin and endorphins (mood enhancing neurotransmitters). Acupuncture treatment can also help resolve physical ailments such as chronic pain which is often a contributing cause of depression.
If you are not getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night you may be showing signs of insomnia. Sleep loss can manifest as excess daytime sleepiness, depressed mood and poor memory and concentration.
Over time insomnia has a profound effect on your health, performance, longevity and safety. Chronic insomnia has been associated with increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and stroke.
There are many causes of insomnia ranging from depression, trauma, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, occupational/lifestyle factors and medical conditions to sleep disorders. However, current research indicates that hyper-arousal of the brain is one of the main factors that causes insomnia.
Hyper-arousal of the brain affects the balance of the Autonomic Nervous System creating more of a “Flight or Fight” state rather than a restorative one through the body. We are currently being exposed to some very stressful and traumatic events (natural disasters, terrorism, escalating upheavals in different parts of the world). These traumatic events add to our personal past and present stress and traumas affecting the quality and quantity of our sleep.
Acupuncture is extremely effective in regulating the nervous system, calming the mind and body and increasing the production of melatonin (a hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles) and other mood enhancing hormones.
Evidence based research on Acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia showed that Acupuncture significantly improves sleep quality and duration in patients of varying age with a variety of causes for their insomnia.