Acupuncture is great for treating stress, and is one of the reasons why it has become such an effective and popular medical modality in the U.S.
We live in a state of constant low-grade anxiety. Our sympathetic nervous system-which is supposed to kick in for emergencies only-is on alert all the time. In other words, when we step off a curb and almost get hit by a speeding bus, we get an instant adrenaline rush that allows us to save ourselves. Physically, we feel our heart rate go up, our pupils dilate, and blood shoot into our muscles in order to protect us and allow us to act fast. This is a vital physiologic response and one that our very survival depends upon. However, most of us are under so much stress in our daily lives that we keep this constant low-grade state of adrenaline and anxiety running through our veins all the time.
When we are in this state of “fight or flight” mode, our body isn’t functioning at its fullest. During an emergency, our sympathetic nervous system has no use for our digestive system, sexual organs, or our immune system. Those future-oriented systems get shut down in favor of immediate survival mechanisms. So, when we exist in a prolonged state of sympathetic nervous system functioning, it stands to reason that our digestive system, sexual organs, and immune system don’t get a lot of love. Over time, this manifests as chronic issues with the ignored systems and they start to deteriorate.
We aren’t supposed to be in fight or flight mode 24/7.
Acupuncture turns the sympathetic nervous system functioning off so that the body can relax and begin to heal itself. Once the body is allowed to take a chill, the parasympathetic nervous system has a chance to kick in and start healing the body. Acupuncture turns on the parasympathetic nervous system, calms the mind, and brings us into a highly relaxed state of being.