Health & Fitness

3 ways Acupuncture Keeps You Calm and In Control :video

Kristen Sparrow • July 31, 2023

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In this episode I explore three ways that acupuncture can lead to a calming restoration of body and mind. This leads to a healthier and longer life.  First, let’s understand the critical role that our stress response plays in our lives.

Our stress response involves two reflexes – the “fight or flight” response, which is like an adrenaline-charged survival instinct when facing sudden or even ongoing threats, and the opposite reflex, known as “rest and digest,” harnessed by the vagus nerve. This “rest and digest” state allows us to rest, heal, and maintain valuable resilience to daily challenges.  The vagus directly innervates our gastrointestinal tract helping us to digest and but also picking up signals from our gut. Our gut is also known as our “second brain” which relays unconscious signals or “gut feelings” that help with our survival.

So how does acupuncture increase vagal activity and bring us into that beneficial “rest and digest” mode. There are three powerful ways it achieves this.

#1. Acupuncture causes a small injury in the skin. Acupuncture points are usually rich in mast cells, a component of our elegant immune system. These cells unleash a cascade of responses that aim to heal this injury. Not only does the needle cause increased blood flow and other reactions in the skin, but it also triggers a reaction in the brainstem that reduces inflammation through the vagus nerve. This is especially important to prevent inflammation from spiraling out of control, as seen in certain viral infections like Covid-19.


#2. Some nerves can cause an increase vagal activity with specific frequencies of stimulation. Remarkably, one of the most common acupuncture points, Stomach 36, located on the front of the leg, has been found to possess this incredible property. A groundbreaking study published in the Journal Nature in the fall of 2021 showed just how effective this point is at boosting vagal activity at certain stimulation frequencies.

Another way to trigger the vagus nerve is through the ear, thanks to a branch of the vagus nerve located there.

#3. Increasing your vagal activity with acupuncture on an ongoing basis brings about some unexpected and remarkable advantages. Firstly, being in a more balanced healing mode makes you less likely to be triggered by challenges. Studies in horses, dogs, have shown that those who received acupuncture before a research devised startling event showed less fright and flight reactions measured physiologically. Acupuncture actually prevented their stress from spiraling out of control.  A similar study in young athletes showed that those who received acupuncture before a competition not only had more confidence and performed better, but less measured physiological stress response.

Secondly, and amazingly, increasing “rest and digest” activity through the vagus nerve helps you gain better control over unhealthy behaviors and embrace healthier habits. The vagus nerve acts as a go-between, linking the brain’s control over our own behaviors. This is perhaps why acupuncture is a mainstay in rehab centers.

Acupuncture increasing vagal activity to counteract out of control stres can benefit us in countless ways leading to a restored state of body and mind.

Thank you for joining me today and remember to subscribe to my channel and leave comments.  Please visit my website and blog too!!  Thanks!