October 3, 2018
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), “there is no separation between the mind and body – they are interconnected and affect each other in health.” This synergy is why your stomach hurts when you’re anxious, or your neck aches when you’re stressed, or your energy levels are depleted when you’re depressed. For 3,000 years, TCM has provided “a safe and an effective help on the treatment of stress-related disorders,” treating both the symptoms and causes of our bodies’ imbalances. If you’ve reached your stress tipping point, consider these alternative treatments.
“The flow of Qi or energy can be interrupted by several factors, including anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief,” Pacific College explains. “Acupuncture seeks to restore any imbalance between Yin and Yang.” The precise, studied placement of acupuncture needles stimulates the body’s healing process to restore its balance.
In addition to increasing circulation, which can eliminate the stress hormone cortisol and induce the release of pain-killing, mood-boosting endorphins, the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine explains that acupuncture can decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as relax your muscles, which tend to seize up during periods of stress.
Dr. Yongxin Fan of AOMA recalls a patient who “had intense stress from her job and was having insomnia. I treated her with acupuncture and the herbal formula wen dan tang. After the first treatment she was sleeping much better and after two weeks the stress was much reduced.”
As mentioned by Dr. Fan, herbal formulations are often used to treat stress, with some of the most common formulas being xiao yao wan (also known as “Free and Easy Wanderer”), gan mai da zao tang, chai hu shu gan san, yi guan jian, yue ju wan, and gui pi tang.
For anxiety, herbs are often advised with your existing treatment to help with the relief, if you have a consultation with a qualified TCM professional. You can see the improvements over the time,
TCM and Western medicine professionals alike recommend analysing our diets and exercise patterns to manage our stress. In Chinese nutrition, for example, AOMA notes that blueberries, purple cabbage, beets, tomatoes, and eggplant are considered stress-reducing vegetables. An excess of refined sugars can also affect mental health, as can caffeine and high glycemic foods, Pacific College warns.
Exercise, of course, helps the mind and body in countless ways, and practices like taiji and qigong “have been shown to help induce the ‘relaxation response,'” which slows your heart rate, relaxes your muscles and calms your breathing. You might also wish to consider Tong Ren Therapy, which is designed to “internally help with the healing process of a patient’s energy system using the collective unconscious.”
Are you, like millions of others, searching for relief from your stress? Book an appointment at SITCM and discover how TCM can help you get back to a more peaceful mind and body.