Let Your Stress Fall Away

September 2009

Acupuncture helps you deal with stress better

One sunny afternoon, as I was walking along the sidewalk of the neighbourhood, a 10 year old girl walking toward me caught my eyes. I was surprised to pick up such a heavy vibe from a girl at such a young age. She walked with her head lowered and her beautiful face was in a deep frown. The books she clasped in front of her chest made her footsteps heavy. Behind her, her parents walked up side by side, with stress written on their face. I suddenly realized that this is the first week of school. “First week of school, eh?” I asked. “Yes.” The short answer was followed by a deep sigh.

For those of you who had a fun and relaxing summer, it’s “back to school time” and you will be facing higher level of stress. And for those who haven’t had any vacation away yet, and those who have been over-working, stress might start to eat your health and sanity away.

Luckily, if you don’t wait too long, acupuncture can usually help you to restore your health.

Let’s take a look at what stress does to you. If you are a man, check your belly. If you see a “spare tire” there, that’s stress. Research shows that increased size of belly increases chance of cardio-vascular problems. And the “spare tire syndrome” is largely related with high stress level, yet this factor is often neglected. Why are you craving sugar and carbs? Think about stress. If you are a woman and you find your husband or boyfriend drives you crazy even though you know you love him, stress might be the culprit behind all these mood swings. Chronic stress directly affects the serotonin level in you brain, which affects you emo tional well-being. Chronic high- or low-grade stress can do many nasty things to you. It affects you physically, mentally and emotionally. I see many patients in my practice, who have poor digestion, have difficulty in bowel movement, can’t sleep, and feel anxious or depressed. Most of them are all overstressed for a long time. Yet they’ve been ignoring it until one day they are forced to slow down by their health.

Chinese Medicine considers that stress is one of the main reasons that blockage of the Qi (vital energy) flow occurs. Imagine that you have a good quality car, yet for some reason, the good quality fuel that you add into the car can’t reach the engine because something has blocked the pathway. What’ll happen to your car? It won’t function well. Same for our body. When the Qi doesn’t flow smoothly, our body can’t function well and different symptoms will occur. When your body starts to show symptoms due to overstress, it’s the body’s way to protect itself by sending you the signals just like when the fuse is there to protect the whole electric system from being overloaded. It’s time to take action to help your body. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to help the body to recover balance. Acupuncture treatment stimulates the secretion of body’s endorphin and serotonin, which are directly related with both physical and emotional well being. The deep relaxation induced by the acupuncture treatment can have many profound effects on people. A patient who came for depression treatment commented on the effect of treatment: “It’s not cognitive, yet it helped me to shift my way of thinking and my behaviour. I feel normal again.”

Now, do a quick check up on yourself.

  1. Do you crave for things like sweets and starch?
  2. Do you have problem with your bowel movement?
  3. Do you have difficulty with sleep (takes long time to fall asleep, can’t sleep through whole night, can’t get enough sleep and wake up feeling tired)?
  4. Do you feel anxious, grumpy, irritated or depressed?
  5. Do you feel tired easily?
  6. Do you find it hard to concentrate?
  7. Have you lost or gained significant amount of weight?

If you answer is yes to more than 2 of the above questions, you need to take action to control your stress before it controls you. I am here to help you to achieve this. The self-massage exercise in this issue of newsletter can be of great help as well.