With one quick glance at the news or your day’s schedule, you feel your heart rate skyrocket and the stress settle in. Although your body’s stress response is designed as a life-preserving tool, living in a constant state of stress can exact a heavy toll, physically and emotionally.
To better understand how stress can affect your overall health, the team here at Family Wellness Acupuncture wanted to focus on this important subject in this month’s blog post. Here’s a look at what happens when you lead a life full of stress and how we can help relieve this stress through acupuncture.
The physical side of stress
Stress is your body’s response to a perceived threat, playing an invaluable role in protecting you. When you encounter a dangerous situation, your sympathetic nervous system reacts and sets your fight-or-flight response into motion.
First, your body releases stress hormones — primarily cortisol hormones — and adrenaline. These chemical reactions create a number of physiological changes that are designed to help you fight or flee a dangerous situation. These changes include:
- Dilated pupils
- Elevated heart rate
- Rerouting of your blood to major muscle groups
- Excessive sweating
- Shallow and faster breathing
- Muscle tension
As your body adjusts to the danger, certain areas find themselves without resources. A good example of this is feeling like you have butterflies in your stomach, which is a result of blood diverting itself to your muscles and leaving your digestive tract.
Effects of prolonged stress
Even though entering a fight-or-flight response can save your life, living in constant stress can wear you down physically. Some of the more common side effects of ongoing stress include:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Sexual dysfunction
- Fertility issues
- High blood sugar
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as stomach upset and heartburn
- Headaches and backaches related to muscle tension
As you can see, chronic stress can be quite serious and lead to a host of physical and mental health problems.
De-stressing through acupuncture
There are many ways in which you can de-stress, and one of the more powerful tools in this regard is acupuncture. By triggering certain acupressure points in your body, we aren’t only able to reduce your body’s natural stress response, but we can also rebalance your hormones and boost your health by restoring the flow of natural healing resources throughout your body.
Although acupuncture can certainly play a big role in helping you find relief from stress, you can also take some steps on your own, such as:
- Unplugging from time-to-time
- Engaging in relaxing activities, such as reading or walking
- Practicing meditation
These lifestyle steps, in addition to acupuncture, can help your body and mind to relax, giving you a much-needed reprieve from stress.
To combat stress and its effects on your overall health, contact our office in Irvine, California, to schedule your acupuncture today.