Holiday Stress Reduction and the Gift of Wellness November 2013
As we approach the holiday season, it is a wonderful time to think about managing stress and optimizing our well-being so that we can share our best selves with our loved ones as we gather and celebrate together. The holiday season can be a stressful time for people who are busy planning gatherings, doing holiday shopping, and possibly managing home affairs and careers at the same time. The American Psychological Association found in a survey that more than half of Americans, especially women, experience heightened stress during the holidays. The most often-reported physical symptoms corresponding to increased stress were irritability or anger, fatigue, lack of motivation, anxiety, headache, sadness, indigestion, and muscular tension. These physical symptoms demonstrate that the mind and the body are connected; when we are emotionally or mentally stressed, we feel it in our bodies. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine practitioners have long acknowledged the mind-body connection and treat the two as inseparable aspects of the entire health picture. Acupuncturists treat psycho-emotional stress along with physical signs and symptoms to bring the body back into balance and wellbeing.
You may wonder exactly how acupuncture is able to reduce stress. A recent study performed at Georgetown University Medical Center evaluated the biological mechanisms that explain the stress-reducing effects of acupuncture. In a controlled clinical trial, the researchers found that rats treated with electronic acupuncture at the acu-point “Zusanli” (also known as Stomach-36) demonstrated decreased levels of the hormones associated with the stress response. The hormones they measured relate to the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which controls hormonal reactions to stress and regulates digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality, and energy production. They also measured levels of a peptide secreted by the sympathetic nervous system that relates to the “fight or flight” response to extreme stress. What they found was that electronic acupuncture blocks the chronic elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the sympathetic nervous system pathway caused by chronic stress. Therefore, acupuncture works to reduce stress by regulating the endocrine system and the sympathetic nervous system.
Acu-Na Wellness Center and its team are here to help you manage your holiday stress using acupuncture, massage, couples massage retreat, spa treatments, or holistic health consultations. We also offer gift certificates on-line or at the center so you can give the gift of wellness to yourself, your family and/or friends. Call for your appointment today; you deserve to feel like your best self this season!
Written by Lily Mallory House, L.Ac., Dipl. OM.
Eshkevari, L., Permaul, E., & Mulroney, S. E. (2013). Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced
increases in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in the rat. Journal of Endocrinology, 217, 95-104.