Acupuncture and Stress

Stress is not normally the symptom that gets someone in the door to see an acupuncturist. Most often, pain is the primary complaint, or a more serious disease diagnosis that pharmacology has not quite figured out how to treat or doctors to diagnose. Yet stress has been shown over and over again to precede many health problems.


If you look at the American Heart Association’s website, it instantly becomes clear that although stress has not been directly linked to heart disease, it is an important factor to consider when working with every aspect of your health. The reality is that most of us have a really hard time prioritizing stress reducing activities. Rather than have the activity be something we look forward to, we put it on our to do list and presto chango, it becomes the thing we now stress about when it doesn’t get done. A 20-minute walk becomes part of our routine and no longer feels like it did a month in. Gone is the deep breathing and enjoying the fresh air. Here to stay is the mental chatter as we try to get the walk done to get into the important part of your day. Or some of us our serial stress reducers, going from yoga class to a meditation class to a work out or new diet, always searching for what is going to make us feel like we are relaxed but losing it after it becomes routine.

According to the American Heart Association “Medicines are helpful for many things, but usually not for stress.”

So how can acupuncture reduce stress? Sometimes the biggest problem with stress is that no one else sees it. We all walk around with blinders on and don’t acknowledge our own stress, let alone someone else’s. But an acupuncturist can often feel stress in your pulses, and see it in your tongue. The treatment protocol can automatically look to bring more relaxation into you so that you can breathe easier. Laying down for 20 minutes without a demand to do anything but breathe is incredibly relaxing. Endorphins can be produced as you breathe deep. Also, the stress to do anything about what is happening is off of you and on the Acupuncturist!

In our practice, we find that many clients who continue coming in like the experience of relaxation and stress relief that has occurred on the table. Once the primary complaint resolves, the may choose to continue maintenance care just to feel good. The relationship to health becomes more fluid and pain is addressed as the problem arises. Just the reality of living in less pain and getting an injury resolved quickly is less stressful. To lay down, relax, and be taken care of is a great remedy for stress.

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