In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, stress produces a blockage of qi flow throughout the body. According to TCM, qi, or vital energy, flows through the body through a network of channels, or meridians. Stress may cause qi blockage in the form of shoulder and neck pain or back pain. Qi blockages can cause muscle tension and tightness. Stress often affects other parts of the body, and can manifest as general pain conditions, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, digestive disorders, and headaches. Acupuncture can effectively restore qi flow and resolve energy blockages. Specific acupuncture points selected during treatment can treat the root cause and alleviate symptoms caused by the stress. Acupuncture reduces stress levels by increasing levels of endorphins, natural pain-killing brain chemicals. Acupuncture can lower levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, which when elevated causes blood pressure to increase and may cause immune system suppression. Acupuncture also effectively improves blood circulation, which oxygenates tissues, decreases heart rate and relaxes muscles. In cases of stress, qi blockages are often associated with the liver. Your acupuncture physician will select acupuncture points that regulate liver energy while reducing stress-related symptoms. Acupuncture also effectively treats many symptoms at once and induces relaxation. As qi restores to a smooth flow, stress symptoms improve. When acupuncture is combined with moxibustion, cupping and Chinese herbal medicine, the imbalance caused by stagnated or depleted qi is corrected. Acupuncture tonifies and regulates qi flow. In addition to acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine formulas may be tailored into your treatment plan to speed health restoration. Herbs can effectively reduce stress symptoms while enhancing acupuncture therapy. Lifestyle recommendations may incorporate dietary modifications and exercise regimens. Regular exercise, including tai chi and qi gong, can increase qi flow and reduce stress. Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, specializes in acupuncture treatment for a range of health conditions as well as for wellness and health maintenance. Call Dr. Browne at (305) 595-9500 to schedule a free 15-minute initial consultation.