Stress is a natural nonspecific response of the body to the various demands we place upon it. However, stress is not necessarily negative. There is a distinction between healthy and unhealthy stress. Healthy stress includes appropriate physical exercise, good eating habits, positive thinking, adequate rest, and a natural response to emergency situations. These stressors keep us alert and motivated, and support our body's strength and vitality. unhealthy stress, such as negative emotions and thinking, overexertion, poor eating habits, lack of sleep, and chemical and environmental pollutants and toxins, challenge our health and can trigger physical and mental problems, particularly if they are experienced over a prolonged period of time.
In ancient times, our stress response, also known as our fight or flight response, provided us with energy to preserve life during difficult situations, such as an attack or threat by a wild animal. Today, we don't have to look much further than our windows, or computer screens, to view various forms of stressors - everything from prime-time news and road rage, to the 40-hour work week, climate change, and cell phones. All of these combine to send even the most serene people into a stressful frenzy.
Our body's natural response to stressful situations is to activate all available resources for survival, and to get us out of a scary situation fast. However, with the increase in physical, emotional and mental stressors, our stress response get "locked in", resulting in the depletion of the body's resources.
Even is the stressors are no longer present, the body continues to keep the stress response active. This results in the depletion of our nervous system, lymphatic organs (spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes), kidneys and adrenal glands, and can pave the way for a wide variety of symptoms and signs. Medical studies have shown that with increased and consistent stress, our white blood cells, which defend our body against viruses, decrease. This decrease results in lower immune resistance, ultimately leading to physical disease and emotional instability.
With acupuncture and TCM, the practitioner's job is to support and restore the integrity of the various organs affected and depleted by the stress response. Your acupuncturist may also suggest adjunct therapies to enhance treatment, and speed healing. Proper eating habits, as well as the use of exercise, stretching, movement and meditation practices, support and promote a balanced and healthy body, mind and spirit.
Acupuncture and TCM can provide a safe, effective and drug-free alternative for the treatment of stress.