Can acupuncture reduce your stress levels?
Are you suffering from stress or anxiety? Both conditions are similar, with the main difference being the length of time that symptoms persist. If you suffer from short-term bouts of any (or all) of the following symptoms, it’s likely you are suffering from stress:
upset stomachs and IBS
a rapid heartbeat
Other symptoms include a change in appetite; turning to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs; procrastination; nail-biting; etc.
If you fail to recognise and deal with your stress, you could find yourself suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is a long-term condition with symptoms that could progress to:
Sleep problems and insomnia
High blood pressure
Loss of sexual appetite
Clearly, treatment of stress is imperative for long-term health and wellbeing.
In western medicine, the mind and body are treated as two separate entities. Stress is treated as only a mental health issue. You may be offered anger management and stress management therapy, or antidepressant drugs, for example. In Chinese medicine, there is no such split. Mind and body are treated as being interrelated.
How does acupuncture work to improve stress?
Acupuncture is a therapy for the nervous system. In Chinese medicine, treatment focuses on caring for both body and mind without drugs. Stress is mostly caused by the [Chinese view of the] liver and heart. Factors such as lifestyle and nutrition can impair the function of these organs and lead to stress.
Acupuncture works to reduce stress by:
Increasing levels of endomorphin-1, beta endorphin, encephalin, and serotonin. These hormones cause analgesia and sedation.
improving the circulation of the blood, helping to oxygenate body tissue and remove cortisol and waste chemicals; and
lowering the heart rate, relaxing muscles, and reducing blood pressure.
The needles used are extremely thin – many no thicker than the width of two human hairs. They are inserted in strategic positions for your unique stress problems and condition. And there’s no need to worry about the pain – most patients don’t even realise the needles have been inserted!
Does acupuncture really help stress?
There have been many medical studies performed in the West with the aim of understanding whether acupuncture really works for a variety of conditions. Evidence from these show that a course of acupuncture helps those suffering from stress. For example:
In a study published by BMJ in 2017, a group of professionals were treated for stress using acupuncture. After ten acupuncture sessions, 95% of the group had reduced stress levels as measured by the Lipp’s inventory of stress symptoms scale.
In a trial conducted at ASU Health Services, Arizona State University, 111 patients with high self-reported stress levels were randomized into a verum acupuncture or sham acupuncture group. Acupuncture sessions were given to each group once a week during the study. The Cohen's global measure of perceived stress scale (PSS-14) was completed by each participant prior to treatment, at 6 weeks, at 12 weeks, and 6 weeks and 12 weeks post-treatment completion. The study showed that those treated with the verum acupuncture showed a significantly greater treatment effect than the sham acupuncture group, and the effects lasted for at least 3 months after treatment had been completed.
How long does it take for acupuncture to help stress?
Most patients notice a significant reduction in their stress levels after a few acupuncture sessions, and some will start feeling less stressed after just a couple of sessions. It really depends on the severity of your stress and the mental and physical problems that may be the underlying cause.
Which acupuncture points are used for stress?
The right acupuncture points to use for stress depend upon the type of stress and its cause. Each classification of stress is associated with a unique pattern of imbalance, and each is treated differently with acupuncture. There are different acupuncture points for different stress problems.
How will less stress make me feel?
Whatever your stress, there is a unique acupuncture treatment to help. You’ll soon be taking advantage of the benefits of less stress. You’ll be:
More even tempered
Your physical health will improve, too.
What happens in your first acupuncture session?
Your first visit begins with a consultation period. You and I will discuss your medical history and any other relevant information. This consultation normally takes between 15 and 30 minutes. You may then ask any questions you may have, before we proceed with your acupuncture treatment.
Once the needles have been placed, they stay in position for 20 minutes. In total, your first session will last approximately one hour. Then we’ll schedule further one-hour sessions to allow the acupuncture to more fully address the physical and mental issues that are causing your stress. These extra sessions also include Shiatsu Massage, helping you relax, easing you into the acupuncture treatment, and better informing me of your health condition. Click here for more information about Shiatsu massage.
What my patients say about acupuncture for stress
“I saw Inbal for shoulder pain and stress relief. I was amazed by how acupuncture helped my pain and my stress.”
“I saw Inbal weekly over three months for anxiety, stress and sleep deprivation. Inbal was very thorough in her investigation of my symptoms, and I was impressed with how personalised the treatment was. I found the combination of Shiatsu massage and acupuncture very effective in helping me to relax, de-stress, and sleep well.”
How do I get started with acupuncture for stress?
By searching online and finding this website, you have taken the first step to reducing your stress with acupuncture. You’ve found a qualified and experienced acupuncturist who specialises in treating people with stress: people just like you.
To find out more, or to book a free consultation, click on the button below. I’m here to help.
De Oliveira, C.C.C. & Scivoletto, S. (2017). Impact of acupuncture on stress levels of professionals working with maltreated children. Acupuncture in Medicine, 35(4), 303-304.
Schroeder, S., Burnis, J., Denton, A. et al (2017). Effectiveness of Acupuncture Therapy on Stress in a Large Urban College Population. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, 10(3), 165-170.