Stress is a normal reaction when less than ideal situations come into our lives. Even when trying to cope with our usual daily activities, stress is a normal reaction that enables us to get things done. However, if we leave stress unleashed, it can cause physical as well as psychological and emotional consequences.

When we find it too challenging to handle our daily chores due to stress, we must consider factors like exercise, good sleep and nutrition. The lack of these factors working harmoniously can lead to a release of various hormones that causes disruption of the immune system, resulting in flu like symptoms, headaches, anxiety, abdominal cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle pain and irregular menses, just to name a few. Letting this situation go on may cause us to develop insomnia, anxiety attacks or depression.

Oriental Medicine, which has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, tells us that our energy, Qi, flows freely when we are harmoniously balanced, flowing into each organ, helping it function as it should. Being overly stressed for too long can cause stagnation of this vital energy. Different from Western Medicine, Oriental Medicine treats the body as a whole unit in order to bring back the balance that is lost during times of high stress and it has its own techniques to cope with physical, psychological and emotional stresses that we experience.

Acupuncture is especially good to relax muscles, lower blood pressure, eliminate stress and generate good sleep by causing an increase of blood flow and energy throughout the body. Acupuncture also aids in the release of different types of endorphins in the brain that helps us deal with stress. Different studies have proven that acupuncture in different modalities has been of help to improve symptoms of stress. Other techniques like tuina, tai chi, qi gong, cupping and nutritional guidance will help restore the flow of energy, helping the body eliminate muscle tension.

While we are trying to live our lives as smoothly as we can, sometimes it’s difficult to deal with stressful situations but the capacity to deal effectively with stress is up to us. We must remember that we have a natural way to help ourselves when we use Oriental Medicine techniques as part of alternative medicine. We must take time to cultivate the energy to do our best to handle stress. Working step by step each day to deal with daily stressors will help us reach any goal we want to achieve.

By Consuelo Camarillo De G. Lic. AC, MD