Can acupuncture help stress?

Can acupuncture help stressI AM SO STRESSED!

Let me set the stage. I am Lisa Francolini, a Portland acupuncturist, ­­who on a daily basis, treats my acupuncture patients for stress. Can acupuncture help stress? Absolutely, I see it every day!

And yet, these words actually came out of my mouth while I was just on holiday in St Croix. In that moment, I was, but now that it’s been a couple of days, I actually had to think about it. How could I have actually felt STRESSED!


  • It is holiday time.
  • I am in a place that I’ve gone for the past 16 years, with a routine that is comfortable.  All the creature comforts and food and water are easily available to me. They speak English. This is not like being in a third world country on holiday. This is EASY!
  • We have no schedule on this holiday once we arrive.
  • I’m with people I adore.
  • My practice is well taken care of while I am away.
  • There simply isn’t anything that would seemingly “stress me out.”

And yet, I threw a fit, had a bit of a tantrum, and felt that the stress was real even though I had simply experienced it in my head.

Causes of Stress – Real or Imagined

This occurrence made me want to look deeper since one of the things that I see regularly is the amount of stress that my patients experience. Often, as I sit and listen to them as we start the treatment; I totally understand why they feel so much stress.  They feel pressure to perform, to put up with, to be that busy, have so little down time, time demands, time constraints, too much to do with so little time, and then there are the relationship issues and financial issues. It’s a lot and our world is incredibly fast paced.

I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons.  But what I was really looking at is; why, when I was on holiday without a care in the world, did I really believe I was stressed.  AND I’m not sure I know why, but what it does tell me is how much stress, we bring on ourselves.  If we can bring it on ourselves, then we should be able to shake it off from ourselves just as easily.

Mechanics of Stress

Usually, stress is a result of either thinking about something that has happened in the past, and thinking that the same thing is going to happen again. Or imagining what could happen, often based on what’s happened in the past.   Our brains are actually wired to do that. It’s a fantastic survival mechanism. Imagine if our ancestors saw a bear for the first time, and it attacked them. The survivors, who saw what happened, are now trained to run, based on history of what they saw. If that didn’t happen, each time they saw a bear and thought, this could be a new experience, I have no proof that this bear will attack me, just like it did the other member(s) of my tribe. You get the point. However, in our world, there aren’t that many bears around that will actually kill us. There are plenty of bears that can hurt us emotionally, etc…. but that’s where we have more control over how that plays out.

Why can acupuncture help stress?

Acupuncture can help stress symptoms beautifully, particularly because it balances and grounds the body and allows both the sub-conscious and the conscious to respond quickly to the needling.

Here’s tool you can use anytime

I’m not with you at your work, at your home at night, etc. So here’s a tool that I use on a regular basis around stress to get grounded and get into the present moment. What does that mean?

To stay in present time, I breathe deeply.  In through my nose, out through my nose.   Breath is a great way to come back into our body.  Then I take an inventory and think.  I have all my legs, arms, fingers toes etc…   I am safe.  That let’s our lizard brain, fight or flight, hormones and chemicals all calm down.  And then our perspective can change dramatically.    Then state what’s true.   And what’s true is a tricky thing.  Because, it’s easy to believe the story we have made up about what’s going on “over there.”   He’s mad, she’s irritated… me.   (She might be frowning because she has gas.) So what’s true is, it’s Tues. at 10:00 a.m.   It’s raining.  I’m in my office.  I’m wearing green pants. I have 5 employees. My bosses name is Jim.  Those are facts.  Most of the other stuff, we make up.

Next time you are stressed, try it and let me know how it goes.

And for those of you that relieve stress by shopping, get some comfortable clothing to wear for the Holidays.

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