How to relieve stress, anxiety and depression symptoms with acupuncture

“Life is meant to be beautiful, by organising and creating balance between our physical and emotional beings we can enjoy life’s journey to the fullest.”

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Why do we experience stress, anxiety and depression? How can we avoid and prevent stress? How does acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine assist with the many symptoms of stress?

Stress is a very common health issue for individuals and society. When the body displays signs of stress, this affects not only the individual, but their family, friends and the people around them. When we are unable to deal with stress in our lives, anxiety and depression can occur. Sometimes this can lead to serious events including suicide and violence if not helped.

Chinese Medicine considers it is very important to find out why we are suffering from stress, which internal organs are associated with stress and how to avoid excessive stress.

In this article, I am going to discuss stress issues and teach you ways to prevent stress in your busy life.

1. What is stress?… What are the major symptoms of stress?… Do you suffer from stress?

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers that stress is an emotional disorder which also has physical effects on the body and the mind.  Sometimes, the internal organs will be imbalanced (such as Liver and Heart weakness), and the body becomes unable to handle stress.

Main symptoms of stress include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • easily upset
  • very emotional (eg teary, irritable etc)
  • insomnia
  • vivid dreams and/or nightmares
  • lack of energy
  • loss of interest in activities
  • headaches, stiff neck and shoulder
  • increased memory loss and/or inability to focus
  • altered bowel movements
  • lower libido and/or impotence
  • serious effects include suicide and violence towards self and others

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2. Causes of stress and which organs are involved?

Human emotional issues are strongly associated with certain internal organs. Liver and Heart are the main organs which dominate emotional issues. Generally, long-term or acute emotional issues can lead to damage to the Liver and Heart function. You may experience some or all of the symptoms above. Sometimes, if the Liver or Heart are weakened, and the body is unable to handle pressure from external sources, this will result in the symptoms noted above.

A case study:
A few weeks ago, an older couple came to see me, with the husband complaining of the wife being very emotional and personality changing a lot.  This was causing stress on their relationship.  After checking the wife with traditional diagnosis method (tongue, pulses, signs and symptoms), I found out the cause of her emotional issues were her Liver was weaker and had excess heat in the Liver.  After three weeks of acupuncture and herbal medication, her emotional swings were gone and she was much calmer.  Her husband was very pleased with the results of the treatment.

3. Suggestions for lifestyle and diet choices to help reduce stress

Suitable exercise
It is best to avoid vigorous and fast paced exercise, gentle and calm exercises are more beneficial for Liver and Heart disorders and dealing with stress. For example, walking, slow swimming, tai chi, yoga, slow cycling. Exercise in the outdoors with sunshine and a green environment, as the colour green nourishes the Liver (Basic Five Element Theory – also you can have the colour green in your bedroom which assists with relaxation, for example linen, cushions, decorations including candles or paint or window coverings).

Listen to gentle music
While you are driving or doing housework you can have gentle music in the background which the body will absorb and obtain passive relaxation.

Suitable diet
I suggest you can eat the following foods more often: coriander, green tea, peppermint tea, lemon, celery, orange, carrots, Chinese white radish, spinach, banana etc. For additional diet advice please see our diet and therapy articles.

Rearrange your timetable
Simplify your timetable so you aren’t constantly on the go. Make sure you have quiet time – make time for yourself and have breaks in your daily activities. Changing your daily routine (or mixing up your daily routine where you can), can assist with reducing stress.

Avoid emotional issues
Everybody has emotional issues in their lives, if you are having difficulty maintaining balance there are options available of speaking to a counsellor or clinical psychologist.

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4. How does acupuncture and Chinese Medicine help you to reduce your stress?

If you are often overstressed, depressed or have panic attacks which you are unable to manage on your own, please contact us or your experienced Chinese medicine practitioner.

When you come to us:

1) For initial consultations we will check your body with traditional diagnosis methods including tongue, pulse, signs and symptoms. We will find the cause of your stress.

2) We will set up principles of treatment to address your individual causes of stress. According to your causes we will choose acupuncture, Chinese herbal medication, meridian massage, scrubbing or cupping.

3) Our experienced practitioners will offer you suggestions for your lifestyle and diet and will assist with your recovery and help you to prevent stress.

Case study
Five weeks ago, one of my old patient’s sister came to see me, suffering from stress and severe emotional issues. Juggling family, children and her own business contributed to her stress levels. Previous treatments over many years have been unable to control stress levels. Her stress levels were becoming worse, with ideas of self harm.

Her initial consultation showed the following symptoms:

  • insomnia and vivid dreams
  • lack of energy
  • palpitations
  • headaches
  • lower back pain

After assessing her tongue, pulse and signs and symptoms, I found out her cause of stress was due to Liver and Kidney disorder. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine were given to assist with rebalancing her Liver and Kidney function. Her body responded very well after two weeks and signs and symptoms were reduced.  She stated she was feeling “70% better”, and was very happy with energy levels and her mood much improved.

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