A year into the worst pandemic in recent history, coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to make headlines. Unsurprisingly, the new norms such as working from home, school closures, children and adults cohabitating 24/7, not being able to enjoy our social groups, has triggered a wave of mental health issues. These include increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Understandably, the number of people who are anxious is increasing and the need to be able to provide support is more crucial than ever. There are many ways to manage stress and anxiety. Many people are approaching their primary health care practitioner for help. Others are practicing yoga and meditation and some are taking herbal medication. In our practice, we find that many people are increasingly turning to acupuncture to calm their nerves.
We asked Dr. Victor Cao how acupuncture helps with managing stress & anxiety?
Acupuncture works naturally by stimulating the body’s natural feel-good hormones and reducing the level of stress hormones such as cortisol,” says Dr. Victor Cao, Physiomobility’s Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Medicine Practitioner.
He continues; Traditional acupuncture like other ancient Oriental practices works by unblocking the meridian system to achieve energy balance which results in alleviating stress and anxiety symptoms.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the “Qi” is the flow of energy through one’s body. Qi streams through the body on energy channels known as meridians. It’s believed that if energy becomes blocked or stopped up, it may result in illness. This could present with physical symptoms, such as an aching back, or emotional symptoms, such as stress and anxiety. Acupuncture is believed to help remove blockages and restore energy flow, balancing organs, mind, and body.”
Western medicine commonly attempts to manage anxiety with medication with potential side effects. In many cases, acupuncture is a safe and easily accessible alternative. Combined with regular exercise routines and developing healthy eating habits, acupuncture is proven to be and effective treatment option and one of the most cost effective treatments for stress and anxiety.
Studies show that acupuncture has fewer side effects ,if any, than medication and is a very effective treatment for anxiety. The best news, acupuncture can produce rapid results. Many clients report significant improvement at the second or third visit.
Dr. Cao continues: I have been treating increasing number of patients in my practice who report symptoms related to stress and anxiety. People have complaints of restlessness, insomnia, Palpitation (rapid heartbeat), upset stomach, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headache, irritability, low energy, sweating, and muscle tension.”
In a recent survey, 55% of people surveyed reported experiencing mental health issues since the onset of the pandemic, including 74% of respondents in the 18-to-34-year-old age range.
Of those respondents, four of the most common issues were:
- Stress (33% overall; 42% of 18-to-34-year-olds)
- Anxiety (30% overall; 40% of 18-to-34-year-olds)
- Depression (24% overall; 31% of 18-to-34-year-olds)
- Loneliness or isolation (24% overall; 31% of 18-to-34-year-olds)
Homecare Acupuncture Strategies for Managing Stress & Anxiety
Acupuncture stimulates specific points in body mainly using needles. However, you can maintain the feel-good results in between your acupuncture sessions by applying healthy habits such as:
- Diet: Improve your diet by lowering the amount of sugar and processed food in your diet and increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetable. Eat more often with smaller portions.
- Hydration: Ensure to drink plenty of water through the day. Avoid or lower Caffeine consumption specially closer to your bed time.
- Regular Exercise: Moderate exercise as little as 30 min a day can make a huge difference in your health. Exercise promotes the release of good hormones.
- Meditate & deep breath: Practice self care by joining an online yoga or meditation class, practice deep breathing techniques, and apply self massage.
- Maintain social contact: while practicing physical distancing, continue meeting your friends, neighbors and family through phone calls, Facetime, Zoom and other available tools.
Read more about Acupuncture treatments available at Physiomobility.