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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Stress, Anxiety and Acupuncture

Jul 31, 2014 07:29PM ● By Marcela Bowie, AP, D.O.M.

We all experience a certain level of stress and anxiety at some point in our lives. Sometimes a healthy level of stress can be beneficial for a short period of time.  It allows us to move through our daily lives and overcome difficult times. We can also learn, on a physiological level, the circumstances and situations that are dangerous by a feedback between our adrenal glands and our brain. This can help us build a healthy resistance to stressful situations.

The problem, however, is that we tend to stay in a stressful state for too long and experience it too often and too intensely to be beneficial. When this occurs, we stay in a state of '"fight or flight,'"(the sympathetic nervous system) much more than in a state of "rest and digest,"(the parasympathetic nervous system). Sometimes when our stress is too overwhelming, we stay in the sympathetic nervous system state and begin to experience symptoms of anxiety.  This can cause trouble sleeping, tension, pain or digestive upset. It can be described as driving a car with the accelerator on and forgetting how to use the brake. Eventually we may just crash.

Acupuncture, an ancient technique where tiny needles are inserted into various points on the body, is part of a holistic approach to healing as part of Chinese Medicine. According to Chinese medical theory, energy flows through our body along a network of acupuncture channels much like a system of rivers that flow in harmony. Stress, anger, or any intense emotions that are often associated with stressful events act like a dam, blocking the free flow of energy in the body. For example, many people who are very stressed may notice neck and shoulder tension that may lead to headaches. Chest tightness, shortness of breath, and palpitations are possible manifestations of stress.

A trained acupuncture physician will diagnose each patient individually via a detailed initial interview, observation, and pulse and tongue diagnosis. Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis (CCPD) is a system of pulse diagnosis that is currently taught by Dr Leon Hammer. Practiced by a small number of trained physicians, it is an intricate system that allows the practitioner to further diagnose various types of traumas that may cause blocks to conventional treatment. Sometimes the patient themselves has long forgotten about this trauma or may have subconsciously hidden the memory. An example of this is if a person was to experience an overwhelming trauma at a young age.  The body’s systems and energy was still developing.  Therefore, a pulse quality associated with the heart energy being closed and lacking in energy may be felt. Without opening this block, various treatments including talk therapy may prove as only giving temporary relief.

Once a correct diagnosis of where the blockages or imbalances of energy (qi) are, the practitioner will use the indicated acupuncture points with appropriate needle stimulation to achieve a desired balance and opening. Sometimes with profound energetic balancing or opening, emotional release from the patient may occur. The patient may also become aware of the nature of their stress and from there can begin to resolve it. If the emotional release or awareness about a certain life situation is significant, talk therapy may also be beneficial in conjunction with acupuncture treatment. It is also common for patients to feel more relaxed immediately after treatment. Often they will fall asleep while receiving an acupuncture treatment. They can relax and de-stress, one needle at a time.

Marcela Bowie is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture Physician, and owner of No Worries Natural Medicine. She is also trained in Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis. Her office is located at 325 5th Ave, Suite 205, Indialantic, FL 32903. For more information call 321-961-8243 or visit