How Acupuncture Can Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
The title of this blog might surprise you because I’m not an acupuncturist. Sure, I can talk about my experience with acupuncture, but, I want to share more than just how I discovered it and how it has helped me.
That being said, I went straight to the source. Tatiana Martins is a registered acupuncturist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba and she helped me with today’s blog post!
I always say that yoga and meditation are incredible tools to help manage stress and anxiety. But, what about when yoga and meditation aren’t enough? What about when life throws us that curveball we weren’t expecting and all of a sudden our little meditation cushion stops working?
Acupuncture is another amazing tool to help with stress, anxiety and so much more.
If you’ve never had an acupuncture treatment before, then you might be scratching your head wondering how tiny needles can have such a profound impact. So I asked Tatiana to explain how exactly acupuncture works and how it can help reduce stress and anxiety. She was kind enough to explain it from both the Western perspective and the Eastern perspective. See what she has to say below.
What is Acupuncture and how does it work?
Chinese Medicine views the body as a whole; with every organ, tissue, and system working together to keep the body in balance. When the body is out of balance is when illness arises. This can include our mental and emotional health. While a little bit of stress and anxiety is ok and can actually be healthy, too much stress or anxiety can be a sign that there is an imbalance in the body.
Therefore, acupuncture can play a large role in reducing overall stress and anxiety, while helping to create prevention altogether. How acupuncture works is by inserting tiny, sterile needles into specific points on the body to activate specific nerves which have nerve endings into specific parts of the brain. When these points are activated (from the conduction of an acupuncture needle) certain hormones that are necessary for the body to heal are released. During an acupuncture treatment, our parasympathetic nervous system, aka our “rest and digest” nervous system, is activated and our sympathetic nervous system, aka our “fight or flight” system, is turned down, allowing for our bodies to heal any internal imbalances including an overload of stress or anxiety. In today’s society, our bodies are constantly in a state of fight or flight and many of our bodies have difficulty turning this over-simulation off. With the help of acupuncture, the needles are able to guide the body and mind to heal itself and bring back a state of balance.
From an eastern perspective, there are channels or meridians that run along the body, all carrying Qi* and blood, which are vital to life. Each channel is related to an internal organ. When stress and anxiety are present, this is a sign that one or more of our internal organs are out of balance and are not nourishing our Heart. This is where our individual constitutions and lifestyles come into play as not everyone will have the same reason for having anxiety. For example, a poor diet could be harming our digestion and with poor digestion, the food we eat cannot nourish our Heart, thus arising stress. Another example: if our Liver is full of toxins, it cannot do its proper bodily functions of allowing for free-flowing Qi throughout the body and thus anxiety arises because Qi cannot flow to the Heart to nourish it. In order to balance these internal imbalances with acupuncture, needles are placed into specific points on these channels, allowing for the qi to flow smoothly along the channels, unblocking blockages and showing the body how to heal itself where it needs to be healed.
"Qi, in regards to the body, is a Chinese term used to describe bodily processes, for example "Heart Qi" is another way of describing the cardiovascular system. Qi in other terms can be used to describe "energy."
Yoga and meditation are other great tools to help manage stress and anxiety, but when they aren’t enough, acupuncture can be a great addition.
On Sunday, October 14 Tatiana and I will be coming together in Winnipeg to share a very unique offering. We will be hosting a speciality class - Yin Yoga + Meditation + Acupuncture.
During the 75-minute practice, I will guide you through a relaxing yin sequence designed to help you reduce stress to prepare you for the perfect shavasana. During your 30-minute shavasana and meditation, Tatiana will provide acupuncture in a community-style setting. The acupuncture needles will be inserted into distal points on the body to specifically relieve stress and anxiety.
This is a speciality class with lots of one-on-one time and attention, so for that reason, space in the class is limited. We would love to see you there! To learn more or register, click the button below!
If you have any questions about yoga, meditation or the workshop on October 14, please let me know - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions about acupuncture, please contact Tatiana - email@example.com