Attacking the new year stressors with TCM
Updated: Feb 4
Its already two days into the new year! Wow, time is flashing by! But what is really different other than a new year starting? I often get from patients who enter the office, "I'm currently experiencing a lot of stress right now."
I've noticed the stress we put on ourselves regarding the day to day routines are added with the "New Year Resolutions". New goals are great! I'm a huge believer in having a goal setting mindset. But what about all the added stress in meeting those goals?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are several ways that are used to address the symptoms of high stress levels. Before I dive into how this ancient medicine is able to help, let's get into how stress affects our bodies.
Mentally, the weight of stress can cause issues with sleep creating brain fog, difficulty with memory, insomnia, and with the lack of proper amounts of sleep can affect your focus to perform in daily tasks at work.
Physically, where there are a whole list of symptoms, to list a few would, headaches, inflammation, digestive issues, decreased libido, and fatigue.
Emotionally, long standing stress eventually can cause us to have anxiety. Anxiety is usually a secondary issues that follows the high stress. Which impacts daily life depending on how it effects the person.
When the stress response is initiated, your body instantly goes into the fight or flight mode. In doing so, the brain is triggered to release chemicals and hormones that are naturally made in the body to help the fight or flight response. Cortisol, is one of the major hormones that is released to help with the immune response and the body's natural defense with maintaining stress levels. It takes a quick moment for this hormone to be released to do it's job, which is great, however, it takes the body twice as long to reduce the amount of cortisol and level out the body to a state of relaxation. At times, the cortisol levels peak while we sleep, hence, why we find ourselves waking up at odd hours throughout the night. Then this nightly routine sends the body into a cycle that is difficult to combat alone.
In TCM, acupuncture, cupping, and herbal therapy are used to reduce the amount of inflammation and cortisol levels. Acupuncture initiates the healing process with each needle that is constructively placed in the body. Each point has a purpose and is used in a combination with other points to alert the body that there is some healing that needs to take place. Chemicals and hormones will also be released in this process to regain balance in the body.
Cupping is another form of therapy that allows the body to heal naturally but does so in the form of a detox. The blood that is not moving properly will be pulled from the muscle and tissues wherever the cups are placed. Those lovely round pink to dark red or purple marks are significant in telling which areas need more focus. The darker the circle the more pain or discomfort and less blood circulation in that particular area. Toxins are removed from the muscles and tissues in this process, the toxins are forced back into the blood stream to be excreted from the body through urine, sweat, and stool.
Herbal therapy is used in different forms. The most common being teas or capsules. The herbs used are tailored to each individual depending on their body make-up and how their body is currently functioning. It is a great form of treatment in combination with acupuncture and cupping. The herbs in this case of stress are used to reduce stress levels, maintain focus, release any tension or irritability, and aid in digestion.
It is amazing how each therapy impacts the body in fighting high stress levels. The key point to remember is this form of medicine is gradual and results take time. Most patients tell me they feel the results instantly but the long term effects take a few treatments to really notice the difference.
So come on in to experience first hand the feeling of the weight being lighter and more at ease with the touch of TCM.