Acupuncture is thought to have different mental and physical benefits, and a new study adds support to the mental health benefits of acupuncture. According to study results at Georgetown University Medical Center, acupuncture seems to reduce stress. Specifically, acupuncture decreases levels of a type of protein associated with long-term stress in rats.
“It has long been thought that acupuncture can reduce stress, but this is the first study to show molecular proof of this benefit,” said Ladan Eshkevari, the lead author of the study, in a news release.
Dory Ellen Fish, a licensed acupuncturist, said in an email that she has been practicing since 1995, has a clinic in PA and recognizes the relationship between acupuncture and stress relief.
“Acupuncture is a powerful modality for reducing stress for many reasons,” Fish said. “First of all, an experienced acupuncturist understands that ‘stress’ can come from many sources and is able to design a selection of acupuncture points that directly corresponds to the patient's individual need.”
She said she can check where the issues are happening in the body through pulse diagnosis and other skills in order to treat the problem.
“Most of us experience experience stress, but it manifests in different ways depending on our constitution,” Fish said. “Also, I believe … many studies … show that acupuncture stimulates the production of endorphins and other neurotransmitters that create a relaxation response.”
The atmosphere can also add to the stress relief experience.
“The setting where acupuncture takes place also contributes to relaxation,” Fish said. “For example, when people come to see me, they often comment on the peaceful nature of the office.”
In her office, she uses comfy sheets, aromatherapy, soothing music and a “warming far-infrared table.”
“I see acupuncture as a opportunity to be known and cared for,” Fish said. “To my mind, it has deeper, longer-lasting results than massage and is much less work than psychotherapy.”
However, she thinks some people need to go beyond acupuncture for mental health issues.