By Amy Chitwood Burslem from Portland Acupuncture Blog
Stress. It’s around us all the time, whether it’s you who is the stressed, or everyone around you. Stress comes in many forms- such as work, family, hormonal changes, illness, and major life changes. While some of these changes may be positive, the stress of them interferes with your health and happiness. Having a new baby, changing to a better job, moving to a better place are all good changes, but are still stressful!
In Traditional Chinese medicine theory, stress affects the flow of energy and eventually blood flow within the body, which causes stagnation. This stagnation needs to be moved to create a stress-free environment. Many people feel immediately better after an acupuncture treatment, and are able to carry that effect over by receiving weekly acupuncture treatments.
Some common symptoms of stress
1. anger or irritability
3. irregular menstrual cycle, including PMS, irritability, bloating and breast distention
4. headaches (these can be tension or migraine)
5. gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, constipation or a combination of the two, as in IBS)
How to Manage Stress
Acupuncture- by using very small needles at specific acupoints to move energy and blood, acupuncture releases endorphins within the brain. This has a very relaxing effect on the body, and many patients fall asleep while the needles are in!
Herbal Medicine helps manage stress and control the symptoms of stress within the body. Personalized herbal formulas in granule or capsule form can help with your symptoms effectively. Herbal medicine can be used alone, but it works best when combined with acupuncture treatments.
Exercise- Regular exercise 5-6 days per week help to move the energy in the body. Even a 30 minute walk will do the trick.
Relaxing- Learning deep breathing techniques, taking a meditation or Qigong class will help you deal with stress more effectively.
Diet and food: Try to avoid fried or greasy foods, pastries, white bread, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine (whew!). Choose an assortment of veggies, whole grains, and drink plenty of water.
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