March 24, 2016

By  Steve Hoffman


Who isn’t these days! Work, kids, mortgage, car payment, Donald Trump, even social obligations that should help us relax are often just that, an obligation. So what, who cares, everyone has stress, just deal with it, right? Let’s take a quick look at some of the effects of stress on your body. 

(Also read Top Ten Benefits of Acupuncture That You Need to Know NOW)


Stress triggers the body to produce stress hormones so that you can deal with the stress that you are under. Prolonged production of these hormones can cause headaches, insomnia, depression, palpitations, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, causes the liver to increase glucose production (weight gain, increased risk of diabetes), heartburn, digestive problems, back aches, decreased libido, irregular menstrual cycles, erectile dysfunction, infertility, decreased ability of the immune system to fight infections and disease. Take a look at this infographic for more information. You can also look at my blog on how your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous affects your health and your life. It may be easier to ask what stress does not impact. 


So I think it is safe to say that everyone should care about how stress affects them. OK, I care I care! What can I do? I often tell my patients that if they quit their job, practice yoga and meditation on a daily basis and eat a mostly vegetarian diet, they will get better within a matter of months and will not have to pay me to help them. They will probably not have to see another health care practitioner, either. After the inevitable sideways look, I tell people OK, so that is the ideal and way over here is where you are, so how do we get you closer to the ideal, or how do we get some of the ideal situation to you? Here’s a good list: 


This is a good place to start. Stress often drives us to eat the exact wrong foods, in greater quantities than we should and they are foods that can affect our mood, creating a vicious cycle. So start with real whole foods. Shop from the outside of the grocery store, don’t even go up the isles. The stuff in the isles used to be food but has been altered, added to, and adulterated to the point that much of it does not even resemble the food that it started as! A mainly vegetarian diet is something to shoot for but start somewhere, eat real food.


Exercise is key to dealing with stress. It will actually help the body flush the stress hormones and produce endorphins, basically anti-stress hormones. The exercise should be tailored to YOU and will be different at different stage of your life. Exercises like yoga, tai chi and qi gong are nutritive exercises that nourish you on many different levels and are good for just about everyone and any stage of life, especially as you get older. 


I hear the groan, “oh no, hear we go”. I think some of the resistance to meditation is social. We are taught to go go go, no pain no gain, don’t just sit there, do something. I think we need to turn that around: don’t just do something, sit there. Especially when that “doing something” is just spinning our wheels, doing something for the sake of doing something. The brain actually changes as a result of practicing meditation. It can help slow aging in the brain, reduced mind wandering or “monkey mind”, rivals the effects of antidepressants, increases the volume in the area of the brain associated with learning and memory, improves concentration and attention, reduces anxiety and can help with addiction. So yeah, here we go again. Really, a few minutes out of your day, if you are serious about your health, you can find them.


Acupuncture has been proven to reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body. It also induces the brain to release endorphins. Acupuncture improves circulation throughout the body, oxygenating tissues and cycling out stress hormones and other waste. Heart rates decrease, blood pressure lowers and muscles relax. At Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine we often see patients who fall in to a deep stage of sleep, very quickly and wake with a start, not knowing where they are. If you read my article, you know, the only time your body is healing is when you are resting. I think that is why acupuncture is so powerful, it allows the body to rest deeply, reduces stress hormones and releases healing factors in to the bloodstream, putting the patient in the perfect state to heal. Call Steven Hoffman, Licensed Acupuncturist today and find out how we can help you.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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