Study Stress: A Look at Acupuncture to Decrease Anxiety

Patricia Madden

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Yin and Yang symbol and peace sign drawn on colourful door. Photo credit: Flickr Psyberartist
Yin and Yang symbol and peace sign drawn on colourful door. Photo credit: Flickr Psyberartist

We all experience periods of stress and anxiety in our lives. For college students, feelings of anxiety can become more and more frequent as exams and deadlines for assignments come flooding in. Not to mention the impending pressure to get on the career ladder and become an independent and well-functioning adult. (Insert rolling-eyes emoji here.)

Feelings of anxiety and worry are universal to the human experience. It is important to know how best to look after yourself in times of stress. The motto here is: Be kind to yourself.

With the usual fraught nerves of the all-encompassing exam pressure come a lack of sleep, poor eating habits and crippling self-doubt. I was looking for something that would allow me to switch off for an hour and cultivate some relaxation in my week.

 

Girl studying frantically in her room. Photo credit: Flickr Demi Brooke
Girl studying frantically in her room. Photo credit: Flickr Demi Brooke

I wanted to take a particular look at acupuncture as a stress reliever. I first tried this treatment during final exams for my undergraduate degree; I was looking for something to counteract the stress of academic demands and a friend suggested I find an acupuncturist and give it a go.

This was when I met Rachel. She was able to identify for me the physical sensations of stress; such as shoulder and neck pain, and discuss ways that small daily changes could help to promote calmness.

This was all alongside the actual treatment itself. Those who have yet to try acupuncture may be a little apprehensive because of the (tiny tiny) needles used. I know I was nervous. However, I found it to be virtually painless.

After placing the needles at various points on the body, the majority of the session is spent using massage techniques on the feet. This is extremely relaxing and the only risk factor is that of falling asleep!

 

at fast asleep. Relaxation. Photo credit: Flickr Zemlinki!
Cat fast asleep. Relaxation. Photo credit: Flickr Zemlinki!

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It focuses on treating a patient whose body is not in balance for one reason or another.

It sees imbalances as blocked patterns of energy in the body during times of stress or illness. Because acupuncture is based on achieving all-round harmony; treatment encompasses the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of the individual.

I had a postiive experience with acupuncture. However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ formula. It’s up to the individual to decide what works for them when it comes to dealing with stress when college pressure comes to the fore.

There are many mind/body and positive thinking practices out there; such as journaling, affirmations, artistic expression, yoga, meditation and many more.

 

 

 

 

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Patricia Madden