Emotional Health

Emotional health is about how we think and feel. It is about our sense of wellbeing, our ability to cope with life events and how we acknowledge our own emotions as well as those of others. It doesn’t mean being happy all of the time

The implications of decreased emotional well-being are related to mental health concerns such as stress, depression, and anxiety.

There are many ways to improve or maintain good emotional health.

• Be aware of your emotions and reactions. Notice what in your life makes you sad, frustrated, or angry. Try to address or change those things.
• Express your feelings in appropriate ways. Let people close to you know when something is bothering you. Keeping feelings of sadness or         
   anger inside adds to stress. It can cause problems in your relationships and at work or school.
• Think before you act. Emotions can be powerful. Give yourself time to think, and be calm before you say or do something you might regret.
• Manage stress. Try to change situations causing you stress. Learn relaxation methods to cope with stress. These could include deep breathing,
   meditation, and exercise.
• Strive for balance. Find a healthy balance between work and play and between activity and rest. Make time for things you enjoy. Focus on
   positive things in your life.
• Take care of your physical health. Your physical health can affect your emotional health. Exercise regularly, eat healthy meals, and get enough
   sleep. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.
• Connect with others. We are social creatures. We need positive connections with other people. Make a lunch date, join a group, and say hi to
   strangers.
• Find purpose and meaning. Figure out what it is important to you in life, and focus on that. This could be your work, your family, volunteering,
   caregiving, or something else. Spend your time doing what feels meaningful to you.
• Stay positive. Focus on the good things in your life. Forgive yourself for making mistakes, and forgive others. Spend time with healthy, positive
   people.


Stress

The word stress is usually used to describe the feelings that people experience when the demands made on them are greater than their ability to cope. At such times people can often feel overloaded, under tremendous pressure and very tense or emotional. Stress affects everyone, young and old and is a completely normal reaction that all human beings will experience from time to time when faced with situations that they feel under pressure in.   Stress can be looked at in terms of external and internal stressors. External stressors are sources of stress that we are aware of around us, these can include traumas, life experiences or simply daily hassles. Internal stressors are the sources of stress that are inside us and are often the most common sources of stress. They are the thoughts and feelings that pop into your head and cause you to feel unease, these can include unrealistic expectations, uncertainties, low self-esteem and apprehensions.
Up to half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress every year, which often results in illness.(Health and Safety Executive 2011) Other factors that affect stress levels include alcohol, smoking, exams, pregnancy, divorce, moving, death in family, lifestyle, drugs, poor nutrition and unemployment.

The signs of stress can vary from one individual to the next. They may manifest physically as an illness, tiredness or lethargy, or as symptoms such as sore, tight muscles, dull skin, lank hair, or erratic sleep patterns. Mental stress can result in depression, mood swings, anger, frustration, confusion, paranoid behaviour, jealousy or withdrawal.

Conventional treatments include medication such as anti-anxiety drugs, cognitive behavioural therapy and relaxation techniques.

How acupuncture can help

Stress is a common complaint cited by acupuncture patients. In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment can help stress by:

• Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the 'analytical'
   brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry;
• Improving stress induced memory impairment and an increasing AchE reactivity in the hippocampus;
• Reducing serum levels of corticosterone and the number of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cells;
• Regulating levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y
   and ACTH; hence altering the brain's mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states;
• Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system,
   while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response;
• Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with stress reactions;
• Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors;
• Reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry.

Testimonial

Stress

"After many years of suffering from stress and migraines I finally decided it was time to try acupuncture. I was a little afraid about going and scared of needles too! I found Anita to be patient, easy to talk to, reassuring, and very calming. The whole experience was very relaxing and pain free. I have seen a radical drop in my stress levels, and my migraines have disappeared. I also found other areas in my life that have improved too, I am sleeping much better and feel happier and revived."
P.S.



Depression


Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.
Although everyone occasionally experiences low mood, these feelings usually pass after a couple of days. When a person has clinical depression, these problems can become chronic or recurrent, interfering with daily life. Depression causes symptoms such as low mood, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, anxiety, irritability low self-esteem, disturbed sleep or appetite, weight change, tiredness, lack of motivation, concentration or libido, physical pain, and suicidal thoughts.

Depression is likely to result from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors. It may be triggered by stressful events, such as bereavement, illness, relationship problems or financial difficulties.

The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 depression will be second only to chronic heart disease as an international health burden (WHO, 2008).


How acupuncture can help

In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.

Studies indicate that acupuncture can have a specific positive effect on depression by:

• altering the brain's mood chemistry, increasing production of serotonin and endorphin
• acting through other neurochemical pathways, including those involving dopamine, noradrenaline, cortisol and neuropeptide Y

Stimulation of certain acupuncture points have been shown to affect areas of the brain that:

• are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress
• promote relaxation
• deactivate the 'analytical' brain which is responsible for anxiety and worry.
• stress-induced changes in behavior and biochemistry are reversed.

 Acupuncture can help depression in further ways:

• Some of the most recent research suggests that depression is associated with a dysfunction in the way that parts of the resting brain interact
   with each other acupuncture has been shown to be capable of changing the 'default mode network'
• Acupuncture can be safely combined with conventional medical treatments such as anti-depressants, helping to reduce their side effects and
   enhance their beneficial effects
• Acupuncture treatment can also help resolve physical ailments such as chronic pain, which may be a contributing cause of depression
• In addition to offering acupuncture and related therapies, acupuncturists will often make suggestions as to dietary and other lifestyle changes
   that may be helpful in overcoming depression.
• Finally, people struggling to cope with depression usually find that coming to see a supportive therapist on a regular basis is helpful in itself.


Anxiety

Anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder. They can be chronic and cause considerable distress and disability; if left untreated, are costly to both the individual and society. As well as emotional symptoms such as worry, disturbed sleep, irritability and poor concentration, anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, diarrhoea, dry mouth, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold hands, muscle tension and aches, trembling and twitching. Also, the symptoms of many physical conditions can become worse with stress, for example, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and tension headaches, and back pain.

Treatments recognised as useful for anxiety disorders include psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and applied relaxation, and medication such as some antidepressants and benzodiazepines. All the drug treatments have side effects, and many may cause withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms.

How acupuncture can help 

Acupuncture can help with treating chronic anxiety associated with:

• post-traumatic stress disorder,
• substance misuse,
• eating disorders,
• hyperventilation,
• asthma,
• insomnia,
• post-stroke,
• musculo-skeletal pain
• and various other conditions where anxiety has been measured as a secondary rather than primary outcome.

In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically benefit anxiety disorders and symptoms of anxiety by:

• Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the 'analytical'
  brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry.
• Regulating levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y
   and ACTH; hence altering the brain's mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states.
• Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system,
   while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response.
• Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with anxiety
• Reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry.

Acupuncture can be safely combined with conventional treatments such as medication or psycho-educational therapy, enhancing their beneficial effects and reducing unwanted side-effects.
 

Testimonial

Anxiety

I started seeing Anita at Bexley Acupuncture Clinic in December 2015 for the acute onset of anxiety. I had never experienced anything so debilitating in my life. The healing starts when Anita enters the room. She is totally focused on her patient, carefully listens to your history, and is fully engaged in the healing process. She poses thoughtful questions to clarify all facets of the medical problem. I initially saw Anita twice a week and after the first visit I felt relief which left me surprised and ecstatic. I have progressed so far on that I now feel very calm and my anxiety has virtually disappeared.

Acupuncture has been extremely beneficial to my overall health. If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of acupuncture in today's world, the standard of Anita's care and professionalism will convince you that it works. Anita is a professional, compassionate and intuitive acupuncturist, demonstrated by the wonderful results I felt and achieved. She has a thorough and dedicated approach to achieving optimum health for all her clients. I would definitely recommend Anita at the Bexley Acupuncture Clinic, Erith.
M.F.