Using Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Stress Management
In 2018, 74% of people surveyed by YouGov reported being so stressed they felt overwhelmed. That was 2018, imagine what those numbers would look like in 2020 when the world has been turned upside down?
There’s no two ways around it, stress is something that all of us are familiar with. While we all experience it in different ways and from a variety of situations, there are plenty of methods to reduce stress, manage it and prevent it from overwhelming us.
There can be no single catch-all response to managing stress though, and instead, it’s important to try a mixture of methods and understand that, cumulatively, you and your clients can find relief through a blend of ways.
Acupuncture and its bedfellow, moxibustion, have long been used to help manage stress. Both are intrinsic parts of Traditional Chinese Medicine and have been used for thousands of years for a variety of applications.
So how do they help manage stress?
Acupuncture for Stress
Recommended as a treatment for back pain by the NHS, acupuncture is an ancient practice that is finding its way into Western mainstream medical practice. As stress is such a vast condition and unique to each person, studies looking at the relationship between acupuncture and stress tend to focus on a very specific situation. Some of the most useful studies are those that concern the perception of stress, which has been shown to reduce after acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture acts in several ways to reduce stress and provide much-needed relief. Acupuncture treatments themselves are relaxing experiences. Many of your clients (and possibly you, yourself) do not spend much time in an active state of relaxation. Simply collapsing on the sofa isn’t, in and of itself, stress-relieving. Taking the time to connect mindfully to your body in the present moment is one of the key ways to dramatically reduce stress and acupuncture is a powerful way to do just that.
Aside from being actively relaxing, acupuncture also targets specific pressure points to trigger certain reactions. When acupressure points have needling or other pressure applied, muscles relax and stress starts to fade away. Many patients find stress drains away immediately, others experience a gradual ebbing away of stress throughout the treatment session.
Acupuncture is also an individualised form of therapy where treatment is honed towards the patient’s exact needs. This holistic, focused attention helps to put the patient in a better mind frame where they can benefit from this mindful attention. Taking this control over their stress is an important step that naturally gives them a feeling of relaxation.
Moxibustion for Stress
Moxibustion is closely linked with acupuncture and can even be used with certain acupuncture needles. While acupuncture has successfully made it into mainstream Western practice, moxibustion is trailing behind. It is seeing growing popularity though and, as it goes well with acupuncture, many existing clinics are adopting it.
Moxibustion is a type of heat therapy that warms the skin at certain points, often acupressure points. When used for stress relief, this warmth travels in the area to relax muscles and soothe tension.
Moxa can be burnt on the end of specific acupuncture needles, allows the heat to travel directly down into the skin through the needle. This type of moxibustion should always be done by an expert therapist. Often, moxa is burnt separately from a needle, either resting on the skin or held near it. This type of moxibustion can be done at home with the right guidance.
One of the benefits to moxibustion is that it’s not difficult to teach your patients how to apply the practice themselves, in the comfort of their own home. If you’re already a practitioner who provides moxibustion, now is a great time to create instructions, videos and online classes to instruct your clients to use it themselves.
Using Acupuncture and Moxibustion in Your Practice
This is, undoubtedly, a strange and difficult time. With many physio and alternative therapy practices temporarily shutting their doors, it’s understandable to feel anxious about what the future will bring. When client contact can be resumed though, the stress amongst your client-base will still be there.
Now is a great time to start learning more about using acupuncture and moxibustion for stress relief so you can consider offering this service in your practice. Stress is a part of life but it’s not always a bad thing. Stress can be very useful. Learning to manage it and reduce it when necessary is a vital skill and both acupuncture and moxibustion can play a part in that management.
You can learn more about training as an acupuncturist in our article on training in the UK. You can also read more about moxibustion in our quick guide to the ancient practice. If you’re looking for acupuncture needles and moxa, we’re a leading supplier of high-quality supplies.