Acupuncture Can Relieve Stress

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Acupuncture Can Relieve Stress

A new study published in the Journal of Endocrinology indicates that acupuncture can help to relieve stress and points to the reasons why. The new study explores the biological reasons behind acupuncture’s stress-relieving abilities.

The researchers discovered that stress hormones were lower in subjects that received electronic acupuncture. Using rats for their study, they designed a series of tests with electronic acupuncture to ensure that each rat received the exact same dose of pressure. The targeted point was below the knee, or the “Zusanli” point. This is the area — which is the same in rats and as it is in humans — that when stimulated can alleviate stress and other conditions.

For the 10-day experiment, researchers split the rats into four groups. One group was a control group with no stress added by the researchers and no acupuncture; one group was targeted for stress an hour each day but didn’t receive acupuncture; one group was made to feel stressed for an hour each day but received “sham” acupuncture by their tails; and one group was made to feel stressed and received the genuine acupuncture treatment at the Zusanli area.

Since the body secretes an assortment of hormones into the bloodstream as a reaction to stress, the researchers were able to measure the hormone levels in the rats to gauge their stress levels. They assessed blood hormone levels secreted by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland — together these are known as the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. They also measured a peptide involved in creatures’ “fight or flight” responses, called NPY.

Researchers discovered that acupuncture blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the sympathetic NPY pathway and that stress hormone levels in the group that received the acupuncture were lower. Since stress has been linked to many disorders including heart disease, reducing stress can be the key to better health.

Click here to learn more about what acupuncture can do for you and you can read about what to expect during your first appointment here.

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