During the month of April, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country will annually join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. Sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), a non-profit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a 3,000-year-old medical practice that provides a safe and an effective treatment for stress related disorders. Acupuncture treats the symptoms and signs of stress as well as the underlying causes of the body’s imbalances. In TCM, there is no separation between the mind and body – they are interconnected and affect each other in health.
In Chinese medicine, chronic stress causes a blockage of the energy flow in our bodies at various points. When the energy is not moving freely, painful sensations appear in places where the energy is congested. Migraines, abdominal bloating, cramps, tennis elbow, and any kind of pain without cause is more than likely due to stress-related energy blockage.
Chronic stress is related to many unhealthy symptoms, including high blood pressure, migraines, digestive problems, pregnancy complications, and even stroke. According to many research studies, the blood sugar increase caused by cortisol has also been found to lower the efficiency of our bodies’ immune systems, and can result in even more problems for people with diabetes. In the most extreme cases, panic attacks, periods of a debilitating sense of extreme distress or fear, can occur.
From a Western viewpoint, acupuncture works to alleviate stress by releasing natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. In addition, acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.
About American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine since 1980. In addition to its graduate curriculum, ACTCM offers continuing education, public education, community outreach and clinical services in acupuncture and herbal medicine. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted “Best of the Bay” by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. ACTCM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.