Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that uses small needles to generate energy flow throughout the body. The needles target specific areas of the body that are associated with nerves, connective tissues and muscles. Regular use of acupuncture is associated with pain relief, reduced muscular tension and stress relief.
Many corporations have introduced acupuncture as a form of occupational medicine in an effort to improve quality of life for employees. Stress management programs like acupuncture are also recommended during medical weight loss programs as a method of reducing stress and tension, which are known to encourage weight gain.
Acupuncture Reduces Stress Levels
In recent years, acupuncture has gotten more attention as a method to relieve stress—and not just in the form of tension relief from the muscles. A study from Georgetown University Medical Center found that acupuncture can significantly reduce stress levels.
In this study, researchers conducted simple acupuncture treatments on rats, taking blood samples before and after their treatment sessions.
Following an acupuncture session, the rats had reduced levels of stress-related neurotransmitters in their blood streams, specifically the peptide NPY which is produced by the sympathetic nervous system and is associated with the “fight or flight” response. As this chemical is also present in humans, researchers predict that reductions in NPY levels would be evident following a standard acupuncture session in people as well, indicating reduced stress.
Work Place Stress
One of the largest contributing factors to stress is work. Office-based stress is generally chronic, meaning long-term. At work you cope with fatigue, interpersonal issues and deadlines. There are mental and physical challenges to overcome, responsibilities put directly on your shoulders and expectations that you must try to meet.
In addition to these general stress-related factors, work-place stress can be triggered by general unhappiness in your position, a long commute and financial difficulties that distract you from your workload. Over time, chronic stress can weigh negatively on your health and quality of life.
Stress can lead to:
- Weight gain
- Depression and anxiety
- Chronic disease
For most people, working is a necessity. This makes learning ways to manage work-related stress essential. When combined with other healthy stress management techniques, like journaling, deep-breathing activities and exercise, acupuncture may be able to help you manage work-related stress more efficiently.