The human body has developed an ingenious way to deal with the stresses that we encounter. With stress, the body is programmed to turn on the necessary systems and shut off secondary ones. The body’s “fight or flight” mechanism (also known as the sympathetic system) turns on when stress is presented. Blood and energy is diverted to the systems that are required to fight or flee – such as the muscles of the body, the heart, and the cardiovascular systems. There are increases to the heart rate, energy is released from fat, and muscles become ready for quick action. In addition, secondary systems such as the digestive and reproductive are shut off because they are determined not to be necessary in this stressful situation.
Acupuncture remains an effective, natural, and safe treatment for people suffering from anxiety conditions because it is able to calm the sympathetic system by allowing the body to release neurotransmitters that can control a person’s stress level.
Acupuncture was developed about 2500 years ago and is centered around the development of Chinese society and Traditional Chinese Medicine which states that there are pathways or meridians in the body where energy or chi travels. Any disease, pain, or dysfunction is due to a blockage in these meridians. In the case of anxiety, when emotions are held over long periods of time, or when they result from a traumatic event, they can become the cause of illness. This will block the flow of chi. Fine needles are placed into specific acupoints which remove the blockage and allow the energy to flow again. With proper energy flow, the person’s health returns.
Since ancient times, acupuncture has been known as an effective treatment for stress and its disorders. There have been numerous references to the effects of the emotions on the body and psychosomatic illness, a relatively new concept in the West, but one that was recognized and written about 200 years B.C. Based on these references, acupuncture was found to be the treatment of choice.
Acupuncture remains an effective treatment for those suffering from anxiety, without the side effects seen with various drugs. With it’s effect on decreasing anxiety, acupuncture can help secondarily with the treatment of psychosomatic disorders. Research shows that there is a positive response of anxiety to acupuncture and that it should be considered a treatment for those suffering from this debilitating disorder.
-James Pascual, DAC, DC
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