Modern life is stressful – a statement few could disagree with. What with the credit crunch and possibly the biggest world recession since the 1930s looming before us, rising unemployment, rising cost of living, falling house prices, global warming, wars, family and relationship breakdowns etc., we are all affected in some way by stress. We are surrounded by it, the media drip feeds us stress every hour of every day. More people are on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, not to mention illicit drugs and alcohol, than ever before. Doctors’ surgeries are overwhelmed with patients suffering from stress related conditions. There is a pandemic of stress in the Western world that affects us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

So how do we deal with it and what can we do? There are no easy answers, and no magic pills.  However – there IS hope! Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and stress management techniques, is an extremely effective therapy for stress, as well as for understanding what happens to the body and mind when we are affected by it.

Prolonged exposure to stressful situations and lifestyles has a deeply damaging effect on our body’s delicate energetic ecology. We are all familiar with the manifestations of stress: feeling wound up, palpitations, that knotted feeling in the stomach, headaches, rising anxiety, sense of dread and oppression, unable to sleep or relax, tension in other parts of the body, etc. These are signs that our ‘electro-chemical system’ or what acupuncturists call the ‘Qi energy’ is out of synch and needs fine-tuning. If we don’t deal with it and learn how to recognise the symptoms and manage stress, we are looking at potentially serious health problems in the future. There is a lot of research-based evidence, for instance, that diseases like arthritis, cancer and ME can be stress related.  Acupuncture can give us a way to avoid this, or at least minimise the effects.

Oriental medicine is able to explain what happens to the body and the mind when we are stressed. For example, anger, frustration, irritability, very common feelings for many of us, injure the liver energy, which can cause PMT and dysmenorrhea in women, headaches, hypertension etc.. Depression due to stress injures the spleen, leading to lethargy, tiredness, conditions like IBS etc. Shock and anxiety injures the heart and kidney energy.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine is a very effective, tried and tested way of helping to cope with stress. Many people, when they are having acupuncture for the first time, are amazed at how relaxed they feel. After a course of acupuncture, and maybe herbal medicine, they find that they are able to cope better, by handling things in a calmer way. Your practitioner can maximise these positive improvements by also showing you techniques such as breathing and Qi Gong exercise that you can use on a day to day basis.

Traditional Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is available at the Hatton Garden clinic on Mondays and every Wednesday at Baldock with Jethro Rowland, a skilled and qualified practitioner with eighteen years experience.

Jethro is Registered with the British Acupuncture Council and The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.

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