Stress Relief During Holidays

by Hon Lee on December 5, 2018

Holidays can be one of the most emotionally trying times of the year as it is often filled with a dizzying array of demands, visitors, travel and frantic shopping trips. For many people, it is also a time of sadness, self-reflection, loneliness and anxiety.

All of this amounts to stress that, if left unchecked, can cause illness and deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy this holiday season -- and year round. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure. Together, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help achieve the changes you seek as they assist in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizing aches and pains, improving energy and finding balance.

As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done and process feelings. Left unmanaged, however, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems. Stress causes a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. This can throw off the immune system and cause new symptoms or aggravate already troublesome health conditions and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop.

Stressful situations that last over a long period of time can create an ongoing low-level stress that puts continual pressure on the nervous system and can cause the overproduction of stress hormones such as cortisol. The extra stress hormones sustained over an extended period of time may wear out the body's reserves, leading to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and a host of serious physical and psychological ailments.

According to Oriental medicine, stress, frustration and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off and allowing pathogens to affect the body. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself. Acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out stress hormones like cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.

In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a wide range of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your wellness plan to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home. Regular acupuncture treatments serve to nurture and nourish your kidney Qi, which can greatly enhance the body's ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness and increasing vitality.

While it isn't always possible to remove the external forces causing stress, the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time for yourself to cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more skillfully and effectively.

Practice Mindfulness

Being mindful is to focus awareness on the present moment, acknowledging and accepting what you are feeling and thinking.
Mindfulness enables us to let go of tension, increases our ability to form connections with others and deal with unexpected events.
Increasing mindfulness has many benefits, including improved mental well-being and better control of emotions and moods. A small study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine showed that mindfulness meditation also improves sleep quality and helps fight insomnia.
A variety of techniques can be used to cultivate mindfulness such as qigong and meditation. The word "meditation" comes from a Greek word that means "to be mindful." Regular meditation creates a continuing sense of well-being, leaving us feeling confident and calm.

Source: Black DS, O’Reilly GA, Olmstead R, Breen EC, Irwin MR. Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):494-501. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081

Hon K. Lee is a Licensed Acupuncturist in Herndon, VA., and the founder of Sports Edge Acupuncture Clinic. He is also an author, teacher, martial arts instructor, qigong practitioner and a U.S. Marine combat veteran. Proceeds from the sale of his memoirs go to charities that benefit wounded warriors and their families.

Hon Lee – who has written posts on Acupuncture Herndon, VA.


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