Acupunture can be amazing for creating a sense of calm and well being. We see every day that people leave feeling centered, calm, restored, and ready for life.
Recently a new patient told me that their understanding of acupuncture was that it was for stress. I thought this was interesting, since I tend to treat many other conditions. But stress is always a component. People report every day that they feel they manage stress better, have more energy, more mental clarity, and sleep better when having acupunture regularly.
This is probably due to the fact that acupuncture promotes balance between the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems. These are the automatic parts of our nervous system that we cannot consciously control. Most of us spend most of our time in the fight or flight place, and not enough in the rest and digest place. Acupuncture helps this balance.
There are many health conditions that are partially a result of this imbalance, such as headaches, digestive problems, cardiac issues, and more. The epidemics of adrenal fatigue, obesity, insomnia, ADHD, headaches and other conditions are very much related to the fact that we spend too much time in fight or flight and not enough in rest or digest. Our go, go, go lifestyle, and the stress we experience from family issues, work issues, commuting, financial issues, and more all contribute to us being in fight or flight mode most of the time. When we do try to rest, we have a hard time really getting that sympathetic nervous system to tone down.
Greater balance between these aspects of the autonomic nervous system instantly supports health. It supports the proper health of all internal organs, the immune system, the brain, and many other functions. We need this balance to be at our best.
Research has shown that acupuncture certainly affects these two aspects of the nervous system, but investigators cannot say exactly why. An article published in 2013 reviews a large amount of research that shows the many parts of the brain affected by acupuncture and the different neurotransmitter systems affected. Acupuncture is seen to have a clear effect on the function of the autonomic nervous system and is shown to be a helpful treatment for conditions related to it. [Acupuncture Effect and Central Autonomic Regulation, Qian-Qian Li, et al. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 267959]
Next time you are feeling stressed, try acupuncture. It will help.