There’s great news for acupuncture fans: It really does help people relieve stress. A new study is giving a closer look at exactly why this is. The new study goes into exploring acupuncture’s stress-relieving capabilities by looking at the biological mechanisms involved.
Acupuncture Relieves Stress
A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology found that stress hormones were lower in rats that had received electro acupuncture.
“Many acupuncture practitioners have observed that this ancient practice can reduce stress in their patients. Up until now there hasn’t been much biological explanation of how or why this happens. However, now we’re starting to understand what’s going on at the molecular level that really helps explain acupuncture’s benefit,” says a study researcher Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, a professor at Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies.
For the study, Dr. Eshkevari and colleagues designed a series of tests with electronic acupuncture to ensure that each rat received the exact same dose of pressure. Eshkevari used the acupuncture point “ ST-36” with the needle. Stimulating this point has been reported to relieve stress.
A Controlled Study on Acupuncture
For the 10-day experiment, researchers split the rats into four different groups. One group was a control group with no added stress and also no acupuncture. One group was made to feel stress for an hour each day but did not receive any acupuncture treatment. One group was made to feel stressed for an hour each day but received “sham” acupuncture by their tails. And the last group was made to feel stressed and received the genuine acupuncture treatment at the ST-36 acupuncture point area.
When the body is stressed, it secretes an assortment of hormones into the bloodstream as a reaction. Researchers are able to measure this in the rats. They assessed blood hormone levels secreted by the adrenal gland, the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. They also measured a peptide involved in creatures’ “fight or flight” responses.
Electronic Acupuncture Reduces Stress Hormones
Researchers discovered that electronic acupuncture blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the fight or flight pathway.
Since stress has been linked with so many detrimental health effects, including PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), it’s important to study any measures to combat its detrimental nature. Proof that acupuncture relieves stress (and reduces stress hormones) is great news for everyone because stress affects all people. I find that stress affects everyone from all backgrounds. I also find that Japanese acupuncture works wonderfully. The gentle and effective treatments are what make Japanese acupuncture popular.