Acupuncture to beat stress: up to half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress every year, which often results in illness (according to the Health and Safety Executive in 2011). Other factors that affect stress levels include alcohol, smoking, exams, pregnancy, divorce, moving, death in family, lifestyle, drugs, poor nutrition and unemployment.
Symptoms of stress can manifest in a variety of different ways including tiredness or lethargy, or as symptoms such as sore, tight muscles, dull skin, lank hair, or erratic sleep patterns. Mental stress can result in depression, mood swings, anger, frustration, confusion, paranoid behaviour, jealousy or withdrawal.
According to the British Acupuncture Council, acupuncture treatment may specifically benefit anxiety disorders and symptoms of anxiety by
- acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress
- promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry
- reducing serum levels of corticosterone and the number of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cells
- reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry, regulating levels of neurotransmitters.
For more information on how acupuncture could help you, please go to the British Acupuncture Council’s factsheet on stress.
As one of my patients remarked recently, ‘I can’t understand how I can be lying here with needles stuck in me, and feel so sleepy’.