We live in a fast pace society, completing different tasks, and facing new challenges every day. Stress has become a commonly used term to express the negative impact we feel in our bodies, both mentally and physically.
Actually, stress is a normal physical defense function in our body. It helps us stay focused, energetic, and alert. When we sense a threat, our nervous system responds by releasing the stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare the body for emergency reaction – the heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and senses become sharper. In this crucial moment, stress may save our lives, giving us extra strength to protect ourselves. However, when we are constantly running in this emergency mode, stress will stop being helpful and start to cause major damage to our health.
But how can we determine the point of over stressing our system? The following symptoms are common signs of, but not limited to, elevated stress levels:
- Low Immune system
- Seeing only the negative
- Body aches
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea, dizziness or high blood pressure
- Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
- Eating disorder
- Sleeping problems
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system which deeply considers the body and its balance of functions in order to find the root of an illness. In TCM theory, diseases are caused by stress that mainly relate to our emotional status. There are seven emotions associated with our daily life (joy, anger, worry, anxiety, sorrow, fright, and fear) which are directly controlled by each individual internal organ. The health concern may be looked at in two different ways. First, our organs may be performing insufficiently and can no longer keep our emotions in a balanced state, which creates mental issues. Second, our emotions are strongly affected by our surrounding environment, sometimes overwhelming us to the point of physical discomfort. Either of these could result in interruption or blockage of energy flow throughout the body. For example, a main function of the liver is to keep our body’s energy flow in the right direction, and regulate emotions, especially anger. By constantly staying in an environment full of hassles and conflicts, anger will build up. In the long run, not only will the liver function be harmed, but the spleen function will also be affected. Acupuncture treatment promotes each organ’s function, and also opens blockages in different channels to ensure the energy flow in the body is smooth.
Remember, stress is not always bad; sometimes it can help us perform under pressure and motivate us to do our best. However, it is important to keep it under control and keep our body’s natural energy flow at a healthy and positive level.