General

Nurture Emotional Wellness and Reduce Your Stress

 

Nurture Emotional Wellness and Reduce Your Stress


The holiday season can be filled with a dizzying array of demands, visitors, travel and frantic shopping trips. For many people, it is also a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness and anxiety. Compound the usual seasonal pressures with economic strain and you may find this to be one of the most emotionally trying times of the year.

At some point in life everyone deals with major upheavals or emotional distress. These events can trigger a host of unexpected feelings and behaviors, from depression and panic attacks to major disruptions in sleep and eating. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with mental and emotional health issues by treating the root cause of the problem to help restore balance to the body’s internal environment.

Mental health disorders are medical conditions that can disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to cope with the daily demands of life or relate well to others. Affecting people of any age, race, religion, or income, mental health issues are more common than you might think. In fact, experts estimate that a significant number of people report symptoms that indicate sufficient qualifying criteria of a mental disorder. Some mental disorders are less severe and can be easily managed with proper treatment. Other mental illnesses are more serious and require more extensive treatment, including major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.

From an Oriental medicine perspective, mental health disorders can cause a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. These energetic imbalances can throw off the immune system or cause pain, sleep disturbances, abnormal digestion, headaches, and menstrual irregularities and, over time, more serious illnesses. Acupuncture treatments can correct these imbalances and directly affect the way your body manages your mental health.

Oriental Medicine does not recognize any mental disorder as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques including acupuncture, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 100 patients are treated with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for anxiety, each of those 100 people will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.

Mental health issues are best managed when health professionals work together to meet the unique needs of each individual. Acupuncture is an excellent addition to any treatment plan as it is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while also diminishing symptoms.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body and relieve symptoms by restoring equilibrium. The physical and emotional symptoms that you are experiencing will help create a clear picture for your practitioner, from which a treatment plan can be created specifically for you.

If you or someone you know struggles with a mental health disorder or if you would like to know how to optimize your mental health, please call to find out more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be integrated into your mental and emotional wellness plan today!

Soothing Your Stress

As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done. 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.

Stress is often the cause of illness and the deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy. 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.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress. 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.

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.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stress or a related disorder, contact us for more information about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you regain peace of mind and stay healthy!

www.chicagoholisticmedicine.com

In This Issue

  • Nurture Your Emotional Wellness
  • Soothing Your Stress
  • Hope for Patients with PTSD
  • Tools to Effectively Manage Stress

Hope for Patients with PTSD

Acupuncture has been getting more attention as a treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), particularly from post-combat military veterans.

There are good precedents for the use of acupuncture to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Walter Reed Medical Center, a military hospital, is investigating acupuncture as a viable treatment for returning veterans. The results from acupuncture have shown that it is an effective modality for treating the symptoms of PTSD.

How does acupuncture help the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Correctly placed needles help the body re-regulate itself from the effects of stress, PTSD, depression and anxiety. In turn, this allows individuals to focus on their activities and enables them to better cope with daily events.

Tools to Effectively Manage Stress

Increase your overall ability to effectively manage stress by including these five tools in your wellness plan! Eat Healthily More than 1,400 chemical changes occur as stress hormones, such as cortisol, deplete important nutrients including vitamins B and C, and magnesium from the body.

A balanced, varied diet provides your body with the nutrients it needs to handle stress and keep stress hormones in check.

Exercise Exercise stimulates the body to release endorphins, which are brain chemicals that improve mood and relieve stress.

Outlook Your outlook influences the way you see things. Change is a healthy, normal part of life. Think of challenges as opportunities.

Relax Relaxing is a release valve for stress. Relaxation methods vary by individual and can include meditation, yoga and exercise.

Restorative Sleep Practicing good sleep hygiene will give your body an opportunity to recover from everyday stress.

General

Holiday Qi: Acupuncture is Rx for Stress, Anxiety and…


Holiday Qi: Acupuncture is Rx for Stress, Anxiety and the Holiday Blues

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Depression is a condition that involves both the mind and the body and affects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves, and can often make a person feel anxious and apathetic. People who suffer from depression or anxiety can experience muscle pain, headaches, upset digestion, fatigue, and loss of interest, among other symptoms. Anxiety, in particular, can be triggered by stress. With travel, big family reunions or party plans, and gift-buying frenzies, the holidays are a particularly stressful time and many people feel the effects of anxiety or depression in December and January.Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) evaluates the entire body system, including physical conditions and emotional symptoms, and treatments are uniquely tailored to each patient with the goal of healing the body and mind, as well as revitalizing the spirit. While this is fundamental in any TCM treatment, this treatment of the mind, body, and spirit together is especially fitting for depression and anxiety. Each traditional Chinese medicine treatment, including acupuncture, is an individual treatment plan devised for the patient’s specific issues and health history. An integral part of acupuncture practice is the total evaluation of a person’s “qi”, pronounced “chi”, the body’s vital life energy, and how to accelerate the circulation of qi and blood through a system of specific channels running throughout the body, called meridians. Each meridian relates to major body organs and functions, as well as emotions.The emotions associated with loss, repressed expression, and other stressful events will cause the muscular structure surrounding the chest cavity to constrict and tighten near the lungs and heart. The chest constriction restricts the qi flow to the liver and heart, a condition diagnosed in TCM as qi stagnation in the liver. Without release, the tension now contained within the chest cavity will continue to strain the heart, which, left untreated, results in panic attacks, anxiety, and panic syndrome, also described in TCM as a condition called ‘Heat in the Heart’.

Because TCM connects the mind, body, and spirit and recognizes this connection, anxiety often leads patients to try acupuncture for the first time, as they realize the important tie between their physical and emotional health. Rebecca is a 28 year old NYC artist with a bright future ahead of her, but has struggled with stress and anxiety for the last six years. She has tried psychotherapy to relieve her symptoms, but it wasn’t until she stumbled upon acupuncture and began adding regular acupuncture treatments at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, New York clinic to her regimen that she started to feel more sustained relief from her stress and anxiety. Today she is happy, working on several art installations and as a nanny, and is a strong advocate for the healing power of acupuncture.

Acupuncture involves the strategic placement of fine needles on specific points of the body related to meridians. This increases blood circulation and stimulates qi, removing energetic blockages and restoring the flow of vital qi energy throughout the body. Once inserted, the needles remain in body for anywhere between fifteen to thirty minutes, during which time the practitioner may rotate the needles or add a mild electric pulse or vibration to further induce relaxation of the muscles.

Studies show that most Americans report unhealthy levels of stress, and holidays can add to anxiety, stress, and depression—particularly in challenging economic times. As use of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication continues to increase, a natural, safe and cost-effective antidote to stress might be just what the doctor orders.

Hospitals and larger medical practices are increasingly embracing alternative therapies. Studies suggest that acupuncture–which is focused on restoring the body’s “qi”, can indeed reduce symptoms of depression, decrease anxiety, and help relieve stress. Practicing a little self-care this holiday season need not deplete scarce holiday funds: 70 to 80% of insurers now cover acupuncture; clinics at acupuncture schools offer acupuncture and massage sessions supervised by licensed practitioners at reduced rates; and a variety of locations offer Community Acupuncture at affordable (often sliding scale) rates. Chinese medicine has been used in China for over five thousand years and is a holistic, natural alternative to antidepressants or medications that may have side effects. Acupuncture is a drug-free way to feel deep relaxation and to revitalize the spirit.

 

*from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine

 

Robert Wallace LAc, LMT
Chicago Holistic Medicine
1619 W. Montrose
Chicago IL 60613
773.248.4489
Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Qi Gong, 
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Meditation & Diet/Lifestyle Counseling.
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