Living with chronic stress is a true burden. Stress also takes a major toll on your health, as it has been linked with many problems including cancer and heart disease. But let’s look for a moment to the health secrets of Chinese medicine — where we find acupuncture. Its time as a stress reliever may have come.
U.S. researchers have found that acupuncture significantly reduces levels of a protein in rats linked to chronic stress. This animal study may help explain the sense of well-being that many people receive from this ancient Chinese therapy. Such results give weight to the notion that acupuncture is an effective therapy for stress.
Here is the first molecular proof that acupuncture could reduce stress. While traditional Chinese acupuncture has been thought to relieve stress, there has yet been biological proof that it does so.
The new study tested it on blood levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY), which is secreted by the sympathetic nervous system. This is involved in the “flight or fight” response to acute stress, resulting in constriction of blood flow. Chronic stress is especially damaging, as it can elevate blood pressure and lead to heart disease.
Researchers delivered electroacupuncture to rats, a painless electrical charge. They honed in on one acupuncture spot to test, which is said to help relieve a variety of conditions, including stress. This spot is below the knee in humans.
Over two weeks, they tested four groups of rats. They discovered that NPY levels in stressed rats lowered to the level of non-stressed rats after receiving acupuncture. The rats that were stressed and not treated with acupuncture, however, had high levels of the protein.
Following up, they stopped acupuncture in the experimental group, but continued to stress the rats for an additional four days. The protein levels remained low — suggesting acupuncture has a protective effect against stress.
While the study was on rats, it does not mean you can’t seek acupuncture treatment if chronic stress is taking its toll on your life and health. Trust the technique to a qualified and experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.
For more information on how this technique could help you, read the article The Pain Relief Benefits of Acupuncture