With the hectic pace of life you’re always on the lookout for safe and effective ways to relieve stress. Constant stress can lead to headaches, sleepless nights and stomach trouble.
It can also make you fat.
A rise in stress hormones may trigger weight gain you simply can’t control. And over time, it can get much worse:
- Your immune system weakens, leaving you sick more often.
- Your neck and shoulders get stiff and sore, and your back aches from muscle tension.
- You can become jumpy, irritable, angry, and lose mental focus.
- If you have skin problems or asthma, your symptoms may get worse.
- Stress promotes high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and hardening of the arteries… which can lead to a heart attack and death.
That’s why a new study from Georgetown University is such good news. It suggests one of the ways to relieve stress can be found using an “ancient Chinese secret” that may help you beat stress – and the serious problems it causes.
Chinese doctors have used acupuncture for centuries. Even today, it’s a common healing practice. But modern medicine says the benefits are a “placebo effect.” In other words, acupuncture only works because people believe it will.
Animals don’t experience a placebo effect. They can’t understand medical treatment. So, in the Georgetown study, researchers tested acupuncture on animals.
They discovered that placing a needle at a specific point – called ST36 – made a big difference. Stressed animals showed a measurable drop in a protein linked to stress. The protein levels stayed low as long as they were receiving treatments.
Plus, levels of this protein didn’t drop in animals that received “sham acupuncture” – a needle placed randomly. Their levels of the protein stayed as high as animals that weren’t treated at all.1
This shows there really is something to acupuncture… and that it may help you beat the stress that’s been dragging you down.
Of course, animals aren’t people. But many studies have already shown acupuncture can help relieve stress in humans. Take a recent university study from Brazil …
Scientists placed needles at three points – including ST36. After treatment, their volunteers had lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress. They also showed improved immune function after the treatment.2
Using Acupuncture as One of the Ways To Relieve Stress Has Six Positive Health Effects
Lowering stress provides other benefits, too. Such as helping you get rid of stubborn belly fat. That’s what a team at the University of California learned.
A 2nd group of women who were NOT treated for stress didn’t lose belly fat. In fact, they gained weight.3
So how does acupuncture work? Studies show it has several positive effects…
- Lowering stress levels in a group of volunteers led to a drop in cortisol – a stress hormone. These women also lost belly fat.
- It triggers the release of endorphins. These are your body’s natural painkillers.
- Acupuncture stimulates blood flow and tissue repair.
- It sets off nerve signals to the brain that regulate pain.
- Acupuncture slows activity in your brain’s emotion center. At the same time, it boosts activity in your brain’s “rest” areas.4
- And now we know it may also suppress a protein linked to stress.
You can find a qualified practitioner in your area through NCCAOM – the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (www.nccaom.org).
The American Board of Medical Acupuncture (www.dabma.org) also certifies practitioners.
Many states require licensing for acupuncture practitioners. You’ll find state-qualified practitioners on many of these states’ licensing websites.
Acupuncture is completely painless, but if you’re shy about needles, there’s another one of the most natural ways to relieve stress. It’s fish oil. Hospital studies show fish oil effectively lowers the levels of hormones linked to stress.5
1 Eshkevari, L., et al, “Acupuncture at ST36 prevents chronic stress-induced increases in neuropeptide Y in rat,” Exp Biol Med. Jan 2012; 237(1): 18-23.
2 Pavão, T.S., et al, “Acupuncture is effective to attenuate stress and stimulate lymphocyte proliferation in the elderly,” Neurosci Lett. Oct 22, 2010; 484(1): 47-50.
3 Daubenmier, J., et al, “Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study,” Journal of Obesity. 2011; Article ID 651936.
4 Beck, M., “Decoding an Ancient Therapy,” The Wall Street Journal. Mar 22, 2010.
5 Delarue, J., et al, “Fish oil prevents the adrenal activation elicited by mental stress in healthy men,” Diabetes Metab. Jun 2003; 29(3): 289-295.
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