New research released this year suggests that a staggering one in six people suffer from stress. There are many different causes of stress which are primarily related to a situation or event and how a person deals or responds to that situation. The signs of stress can therefore differ from one person to the next and may manifest in the form of conditions such as IBS, anxiety, migraines, insomnia, reduced immunity, depression, back pain and fatigue.

Those suffering from stress symptoms use a number of coping mechanisms with many people finding traditional acupuncture effective in not only helping to relieve symptoms but to also identify and treat the root cause of stress.

An acupuncturist will aim to identify what imbalances are causing the symptoms of stress, rather than treating the condition in isolation. Stress, or any intense emotion, disrupts the free flow of energy (Qi) in the body - when under a lot of stress the body releases stress hormones which build up in the tissues.  These eventually cause adverse effects on the body.  The muscles tighten which reduces blood flow and provision of nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, the immune system is suppressed and there is a slowing down of metabolism which can lead to poor health and discomfort.

Acupuncture enables and restores energy to flow smoothly and improves circulation of blood throughout the body, whilst stimulating the nerves located in muscles and other tissues. It also has a positive effect on brain chemistry regulating stress hormone levels.   Studies have also found that acupuncture can decrease the levels of cortisol after just one session (Arranz, Siboni, De la Fuente, 2006).The calming nature of acupuncture also helps decrease heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. 

Maureen Cromey, acupuncturist and British Acupuncture Council member says: “Stress is a generic term used to describe the way we are feeling.  Stress affects both emotions and physical health. An acupuncture session focuses on the individual learning about their health, body type and lifestyle pressures and considers how these combine to cause stress related problems.

“The acupuncturist prescribes a specific treatment plan which addresses diet, exercise and lifestyle. This in combination with the needling to treat specific symptoms and strengthen the body can be very powerful.”

Traditional acupuncture is a tried and tested system of traditional Chinese medicine, which has been used in China and other eastern cultures for thousands of years to restore, promote and maintain good health. Its benefits are now widely acknowledged all over the world and in the past decade, traditional acupuncture has begun to feature more prominently in mainstream medicine in the UK.

To find a practitioner in your area, call the British Acupuncture Council on 020 8735 0400 or visit

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