Author:Jessica Klein – Licensed Acupuncturist at Exhale Central Park South Poking yourself with sharp objects might not seem like the best way to relieve stress, but looks can be deceiving! Stress is a part of our everyday lives, but our reaction to these stressors is what determines the course of our future health. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at stress from a different perspective than you would find in western medicine. Stress has a direct connection to the energy of your Liver, which functions to promote the smooth circulation of your energy (called qi in TCM) throughout your body. The Liver qi of the body wants to run wild like a gypsy…Imagine cruising down the highway, taking in the scenery & jamming out to your favorite tunes…and then you hit traffic. You’re not feeling so free spirited anymore, right? Maybe experiencing some anger and frustration? Well, this is what happens to your body when your qi gets stuck in a traffic jam. Your “energy highway” is now backed up and not flowing in the same capacity, which creates imbalances. This can disrupt the entire system, causing digestive dysfunction, insomnia, increased heart rate, headaches, and muscle tension to name a few. Acupuncture will stimulate the flow of qi & blood to remove blockages and bring your body to a state of ease and balance. Is it all in my head? Stress begins in the brain. It activates your sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight) and triggers the release of cortisol & adrenaline. In small doses, this can give a satisfying feeling of high energy and alertness. The problem is that if we get stuck in this fight or flight mode it can cause health problems such as weight gain, mood swings, poor sleep, high blood pressure, and increased anxiety. Acupuncture is stress’ best friend, it will influence the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) and release all the feel-good neurotransmitters like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. After an acupuncture treatment at Exhale, you should feel like your cruising down the highway, wind blowing through your hair, belting out the lyrics to your favorite song! Ready to rid yourself of all that stress?Book your acupuncture therapy here!