Acupuncture is great at reducing stress. Even the patients who are seeing me for treatment of other health issues with acupuncture such as infertility report reduced anxiety. One of the first things they often notice is that sleep improves and they experience reduced irritability. They feel more relaxed at work and at home.
Even though we had viable theories on how and why acupuncture helps stress, we know very little about what exactly happens on the cellular level. Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center made a major contribution to understanding how acupuncture helps. They discovered that acupuncture interferes with the very mechanism of stress. It blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the sympathetic NPY pathway.
The HPA Axis (Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis) plays an important role in neurohormonal regulation. It’s involved in the neurobiology of anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, ADHD, major depressive disorder, burnout, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and alcoholism.
Other recent studies on the mechanism of acupuncture have shown that acupuncture triggers an increase in neurotransmitter adenosine an incredible 24-fold, it normalises the sympathetic nervous system to help PCOS patients and restores ovulation.