While the holiday season can be a joyous and exciting time of the year, it can also be a time of added stress and anxiety. Holiday parties and holiday shopping all require extra time and energy, as we continue to meet the demands of our daily responsibilities. Family gatherings have also been known to ramp up stress and anxiety during the holiday period for many. Though holiday stress may feel challenging to address, there are ways to minimize its impact. Getting enough sleep, regular exercise, being mindful of nutrition and not indulging to excess, can all be helpful in keeping stress at bay.
Acupuncture can also be an effective way to relieve and reduce stress and anxiety during the holidays and throughout the year.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a branch of Chinese medicine that is more than 2,000 years old. Acupuncture, a natural therapy that works with the body’s own energy and healing capacity, is a noninvasive way to address many conditions, including emotional issues, and has little to no side effects. It is based on a meridian system of energy in the body. The 12 primary meridians correspond to certain organs and run throughout the body. Energy or qi (pronounced “chi” as it is called in Chinese medicine) and blood move through these meridians bringing nourishment to all aspects of the body. An individual remains healthy when qi and blood are moving freely and uninhibited. Disease such as pain and stress occurs when qi and blood become stagnant or blocked. Blockage can be a result of various reasons.
Points on these meridians have specific functions such as clearing heat, strengthening the immune system, and calming the mind. Once a diagnosis is reached, hair thin needles are inserted on specific meridians at specific points to treat a particular issue. While the needles are in place the patient has an opportunity to relax as the needles are balancing the body’s energy and unblocking areas where energy and blood have become stuck.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is most often associated with pain management, for which it is extremely effective, but it also treats a wide range of non-emergency conditions, including insomnia, painful periods, fatigue, and menopause symptoms.
Some benefits of acupuncture include:
- Supports the immune system
- Speeds up recovery after an injury
- Decreases muscle and joint pain
- Improves blood flow and circulation
- Decreases stress and anxiety by regulating the nervous system
- Increases energy
- Improves sleep
Acupuncture may not be the first thing that comes to mind when dealing with seasonal stress. But it has proven to be helpful in managing and reducing stress during the holiday season, and throughout the year. If you find yourself experiencing increased stress and anxiety during the holidays, acupuncture could be just what the doctor ordered!
Written by our contributing partner, Annora Cheng, L.Ac., at Internal Harmony Acupuncture in NYC