Stress. It’s not a word that makes you feel elated or excited. However, stress, by design, is your body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If you don’t listen to these signals, you can develop imbalances in your body, which can then lead to illnesses. Keep reading, stress relief will follow.
The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but there is only one that matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. The definition is this, “stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension”. The definition itself indicates stress can affect our bodies.
One of the most visible way stress affects our bodies is our appearance. People who are under chronic pressure and stress tend to look older and fatigued. This happens because cortisol, the stress hormone in our bodies, builds up, which then increases the amount of free radicals in skin cells. Free radicals damage the skin cells causing them to become dull and dehydrated. Women typically show this more than men.
Another big player in the stress game is digestion. Many people today suffer from heartburn and upset stomach on a regular basis. These symptoms can be caused by excess stress. Stress causes the body to alter gastrointestinal motility by moving blood normally used in the digestive process, away from your belly and midsection, as part of the “fight or flight” response that usually occurs when you are stressed. Thus, the lack of blood and fluids in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to increases in stomach acid, causing stomach upset and heartburn.
Minor stress will stimulate the immune system which helps us heal from illness and disease. However, chronic stress can actually compromise the immune system, once again due to the cortisol hormone. Chronic stress sufferers tend to get sick more often and the illnesses may last longer. This is also a factor in people who develop terminal illnesses like cancer.
Excess stress can cause your heart to work too hard and usually for too long a period. These factors can then lead to sustained increased blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension puts more stress on your blood vessels, which can increase your possibility of a stroke or heart attack.
Chronic stress can also be detrimental to your muscles and can then lead to chronic aches and pains. Muscles are supposed to tense up when under stress. But when you are constantly stressed, the muscles never get the chance to completely relax. Tight muscles result in headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain. Over time, those tight muscles and chronic pain can cause many to seek pain relief through prescription pain medications.
That’s the bad news. The good news is you can address and treat stress naturally. Getting proper nutrition and removing stressors will help greatly. Acupuncture is powerful tool for fighting stress. Our special brand of acupuncture can reset your body and decrease your daily stress levels.
Reach out to our Edina acupuncture clinic today to find out how to resolve your stress the natural way. Call 952-831-8080 or go to our contact page now.