We all live with some amount of stress. In fact, a little stress keeps life interesting, keeps you on your toes, helps you get things done, and can be an agent for change. But when stress becomes chronic and prolonged it can impact your health.
With stress, the hypothalamus is activated and triggers the adrenal glands to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol causes a surge of sugar to be released into the blood stream, giving us a burst of energy. Think: getting chased by a lion or hunting for our next meal in paleolithic times, our bodies needed the release of sugar into our blood stream to fuel us with energy to run from the lion.
Nowadays, though, we aren’t running from lions. Our stress is more chronic and unrelenting, and so we don’t burn off the results of stress with bursts of activity. It stays in our body, with negative effects. Among other effects, it:
- – raises your blood sugar
- – makes it harder for glucose to get into your cells
- – makes you hungry and crave sugar
- – reduces your ability to burn fat
- – suppresses your HPA-axis, which causes hormonal imbalances
- – reduces your DHEA, testosterone, growth hormone and TSH levels
- – makes your cells less sensitive to insulin
- – increases your belly fat and makes your liver fatty
- – increases the rate at which you store fat
- – raises the level of fatty acids and triglycerides in your blood
I know that taking care of yourself and relieving your stress can feel like one more thing to do in an already busy day. But acupuncture can help you here! A few regular sessions on the table can calm you down, help you sleep better, and improve your digestion. Not only does an acupuncture treatment offer you a relaxing time out during your day, but it has also been shown to alter your brain chemistry in a good way to help you feel calm. Give it a try!