Holiday stress is a very common feeling. With the holiday season in full effect, I generally see a lot of patients struggling to get everything done on their to-do list. Instead, they should be enjoying the season and time with family and friends. It is the busiest time of the year and the stress that accompanies the holidays is unavoidable. Our ability to cope with stressful situations is directly related to our overall level of health. Most of us don’t put the time in to cope with stress and nourish our health. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many health conditions arise during times of stress. Such conditions are: IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), weakened immune function, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, low libido, fatigue, muscle tension and pain. I’ve seen patients completely debilitated from their stress and robbed of their peace, joy and sleep.
It may seem that there is no escape. However, there are many tools that I use to support patients through stress. Using a multi-faceted approach is necessary to calm the storm, especially when the stress is situational such as holiday stress. An efficient way to reduce the negative effects of stress is done with acupuncture. Acupuncture is such a wonderful tool to use for preventative stress and stress-related conditions. This is because it can support homeostasis. Homeostasis is the balance of the nervous and hormonal systems.
The practice of acupuncture is 3,500 years older than traditional Western medicine. It works by applying very fine needles to specific points on the body. Invigorating these points helps to remove stagnation of qi, which in traditional Chinese medicine is the cause of illness and pain. Patients experience the results of improvements in their symptom or health condition. Therefore, acupuncture is not limited to the treatment of only one type of problem. Acupuncture is a way of supporting the body’s innate desire to be healthfully balanced.
Aside from holiday stress, acupuncture also remedies acute and chronic pain conditions. In fact, the National Institute of Health has many studies showing the positive effects of acupuncture on chronic pain. Specifically back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and migraines. Studies have shown that acupuncture reduces pain by modulating endorphin levels. Patients suffering from muscular tension or joint related pain respond quickly with favorable reductions in pain.
As far as stress goes, I’d like to close with a reminder on self-care. Take some time to think about what you can do to reduce ongoing stress. Sometimes that requires making a big change. Changes aren’t always easy, but life is short and your health and happiness are worth it! Stress is also aided by deep breathing, time outside, exercise, reading etc. Including acupuncture in your regimen once per week is a great way to de-stress and maintain good health. Severe conditions require more frequent visits.
Don’t let the holiday season eat you up. Be mindful of all the wonderful aspects of the holidays. Allow those joyful feelings to be your focus! You get more of what you put your attention towards. Focus on the good and the stress of the holidays will be replaced with a sense of ease and peace. Happy holidays!