WHY ACUPUNCTURE IS GREAT FOR STRESS RELIEF
Let me bring you in on a secret. You know I love yoga. I practice meditation. But when the going gets really tough, there’s one person I’m going to call. No, It’s not ‘Ghost Busters’, it’s my ‘Acupuncturist’. For fast and effective stress relief, I know what hits the spot.
Acupuncture unfortunately has a mixed reputation. The ‘sharp’ needles for one put a lot of people off. However, many people associate acupuncture with just ‘pain relief’. Which is fair on one level, but on another, acupuncture is a whole lot more.
What’s the Story with Acupuncture & Stress Relief?
You see, the power of acupuncture lies in its ability to tap into the central nervous system. Acupuncture works on the principle that when energy imbalances arise in the body, the tapping of certain stimulating points can correct such imbalances and restore the flow of energy (Qi) through channels known as meridians.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM has it is referred to), there are five key elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water), and their interaction can have profound effects upon the body.
From a TCM perspective, the body and mind are one. Anxiety is a result of an imbalance of the heart and kidney ‘meridians’. In TCM, the heart is represented by fire and joy. Where there is a build up of heat in the heart, then this imbalance will affect its interaction with the kidney (which in TCM is represented as water and fear). This will result in disturbances in the mind, as the fire organ rises up unconstrained by the water organ. The result? Stress & anxiety.
Typical acupuncture points that are used to treat anxiety include points around the heart, kidney, spleen and ear. For me, it’s the point above the bridge of my nose in between my eye brows that does the trick. But as you can see, there are a multitude of points, including on the crown of the head (ever practised headstand in yoga and felt a very calming effect? That’s the meridians in action).
You can see why Western medicine has largely rejected acupuncture, for its lack of evidence-based granular approach to medicine. But just because something can’t be proven, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist (pardon the double negative). There are whole hospitals in China dedicated to acupuncture, and considering the population of China is almost a 6th of the world’s overall population, then there must be some truth to it. Pain-relief? It’s actually much more. Rather, a total, holistic approach to medicine.
Welcome to Acupuncture ‘Dry-Bars’
It’s not surprising then that in the age of wellness, entrepreneurs and holistic practitioners are looking to capitalise upon this. A new US-based start-up in NYC’s trendy flatiron district, WTHN (pronounced ‘within’) has recently opened up a dry-bar dedicated to bringing a whole new range of wellness treatments, including acupuncture (and biurnal beats) to the wider market and making it mainstream. Instant stress relief is here, right on the high (or main) street.
As much as wellness is on the rise, unfortunately mental health, and conditions relating to stress and anxiety are becoming more and more common. One of the co-founders of WTHN, Shari Auth, a Chinese herbalist and holistic health practitioner notes that:
“We are living in what is called the age of stress and anxiety. People are looking for natural remedies for pain…..When people get up off an acupuncture table, they feel relaxed and rejuvenated.”
Not only is WTHN looking to offer a service that is an effective means of stress relief, but one that offers a space for general relaxation. Spas once associated with lavishness and self-indulgence may soon be full of people on beds with needles coming out of their heads. It reminds of that movie ‘Hellraiser’. Well, maybe that’s a little bit too spooky!
Who Are You Going to Call?
I believe this may be just the start. No longer will acupuncture be confined to the local Chinese herbal medicine store on the high street not knowing what treatment you are going to receive. For me, this has always been the biggest impediment to finding a good acupuncturist. Most decent holistic and wellness practices and studios offer acupuncture. It’s time we reduce the misconceptions about this powerful eastern practice and rather talk about its vast benefits.
For fast and effective stress relief, I see Dr Li, a highly experienced acupuncturist who has various clinics across central London. Why don’t you give it a go? Don’t pop a pill or down a drink – get smart about your approach to mental health or wellbeing generally. Try acupuncture, even if you are feeling just a little stressed out. It may well just be the winning difference, or even save your professional career.
With thanks to Fastcompany for their recent article about the amazing work that WTHN is doing to bring more zen through acupuncture to our cities and streets and Psych Central for information about the treatment of mental health conditions with acupuncture.