Raise your hand if you've ever experienced anxiety. *Insert every person's hand raised here!* Anxiety is a funny thing, mainly because it shows up differently for so many people. I'm sure lots of you have heard us ask you HOW or WHERE you feel it in your body when you get stressed or feel anxious. Typically, it's because we use the body as a road map to tell us what systems are out of whack!
Some experience anxiety as a nagging pit in the stomach, while others feel like an elephant is sitting on their chest. Anxiety can also show up in the form of panic where the fight or flight mechanism is triggered, IE: racing heartbeat, increased breath rate, and all the blood draining from the head to the arms and legs, so you can run from the BEAR THAT'S CHASING YOU!! Not realistic in this day in age, but that's the physiological response that is triggered when your anxiety goes up. High anxiety can also trigger the release of cortisol - the stress hormone. High cortisol levels over time can lead to poor sleep patterns, weight gain, even more anxiety, major fatigue and eventually adrenal burn out. No bueno.
According to Chinese medicine, there are a couple of systems that are notorious for being out of whack when a person has anxiety. First is the heart meridian. (Remember we're not talking about your actual heart, just the energy it's responsible for according to our Chinese medicine theories). When a person struggles with nervousness, irritability, heaviness felt in the chest, hot flashes, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, racing heart rate, etc. this is a tell-tale sign the heart meridian is involved.
On the other side of the spectrum, a person can present completely different and still suffer from anxiety. The kidney energy is supposed to be the most grounding of the energy of the whole body. Think: our deepest rooted Qi that connects us to earth. Quite often when that energy isn't functioning properly, a person can have an irrational amount of fear, usually felt in the pit of the stomach, digestive issues worsen with anxiety, unresolved grief, nervousness/obsessive thoughts/worry, depression, etc.
As practitioners, it's our job to identify where the disruption is in the system and treat it! Acupuncture is a great way to control anxiety levels over time. Auricular acupuncture (acupuncture in the ear) specifically taps into the brain chemistry to help change a person's experience with stress. And if that's not enough, we have great Chinese herbal formulas to help take the edge off even more. We're also huge fans of yoga or yoga-like breathing to help control anxiety levels. If you or a loved one struggles with stress and anxiety, don't wait- come in soon and get it managed. We'll work with you to find the best combination of tricks and tools to help you feel your best!