Stress builds when you have too many demands on your life, whether they come from your job, friends, or family. Sometimes the task of juggling work with enjoyable activities adds to your stress.
Anxiety occurs when you worry about or fear something that may happen in the future. Anxiety often goes hand-in-hand with stress, often as a natural reaction when you’re stressed over life’s demands.
When your stress levels stay high for an extended period, your cortisol levels rise, while neurotransmitters needed to maintain a positive mood take a dive. As a result, you’re more likely to feel depressed.
To make life more challenging, stress, anxiety, and depression are among the top causes of insomnia. Then a lack of sleep only adds to your stress, creating a pervasive cycle that’s often hard to break.
You may not think of acupuncture as a treatment for stress and anxiety, but the therapy impacts brain chemicals and hormones that regulate both conditions.
Acupuncture provides relief because it:
Massage relaxes muscles and relieves tension, two changes in your body that can immediately relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. Like acupuncture, massage can also influence hormones in ways that help eliminate stress and anxiety.
Massage increases the availability of neurohormones that affect brain chemistry. It may elevate dopamine, which promotes a sense of joy and pleasure. A massage may also increase the availability of serotonin, which is vital for regulating moods, emotions, and sleep. Conversely, when your serotonin is low, you’re more likely to become depressed and have trouble sleeping.
A long, deep massage can reduce adrenaline levels, thereby creating a feeling of relaxation that helps you sleep more deeply. Another type of massage, intense trigger point massage, may help relieve stress and anxiety by stimulating the release of endorphins, the brain’s natural “feel good” chemicals.
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