Acupuncture for Stress: What to Expect

If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you’re far from alone. According to the 2020 Stress in America survey, more Americans are stressed now than ever before, and nearly 49% of respondents indicated that the stress is negatively affecting their actions and behaviors. The good news is that stress management techniques, including exercising and meditating, can help you reduce stress levels. Here at Premier Chiropractic in Pearland, Texas, Barry Hughes, DC and our team offer another option for stress management: acupuncture

Below, Dr. Hughes explores the link between acupuncture and stress 一 and what you can expect during an acupuncture session.

Acupuncture and stress 

While acupuncture is most well-known for its ability to combat back pain, studies show that acupuncture can also help reduce stress levels 一 even for up to three months post-treatment! 

Another study found that acupuncture reduces stress because it slows the production of cortisol, which is your stress hormone. But how exactly does acupuncture reduce stress? 

First, stress is how your body and brain respond to any pressure in life. Common sources of stress include work demands, finances, and personal relationships. When you feel stressed, your body’s nervous system shifts into flight-or-fight mode. This might be okay occasionally, but if you’re chronically in this state, it can take a toll on your mental and physical health.

This is where acupuncture comes into play. Acupuncture therapy focuses on your pressure points and Meridians. Meridians, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, are pathways for energy, and when the acupuncture needles stimulate these areas, it triggers your body to produce pain-killing chemicals (hence the pain relief). 

However, the tiny needles are inserted close to specific nerves that can stimulate the part of your brain that controls emotions, such as anxiety. As a result, you’ll feel more balanced and relaxed. Remember stress affects your nervous system, and acupuncture helps to calm it back down.

What to expect 

If you’ve never experienced acupuncture for stress relief, you might wonder what you can expect. The process is similar whether you are seeking acupuncture for stress or pain. The main difference is where each of the needles is placed. Here is what you can expect during your appointment:


First, you’ll recline on a comfortable, padded table. One of our trained acupuncturists determines where to place the thin needles. Pressure points can be found on your back, hips,  hands, face, stomach, and even on the backs of your knees. Each site will be thoroughly and carefully cleaned with an alcohol wipe.

Needle insertion

One of our acupuncturists may tap on your pressure points before inserting the needles. You might feel a slight pinch, but remember the needles are thin (much smaller than needles used to administer medication or draw blood) and they are only inserted a few millimeters. Once your needles are in place, they’ll remain in place for approximately 30-60 minutes. Many people find this to be a peaceful time to close their eyes and relax.

Removal of needles

After the needles are removed, your skin is wiped with rubbing alcohol once again, and you’re free to carry on with your day. You may further supplement your acupuncture treatment with additional stress management techniques such as yoga, exercising, time management skills, and regular self-care. 

If you’re feeling stressed, call our Pearland, Texas office at 281-223-1172 and find out if acupuncture is right for you. You can also request an appointment 24/7 via our online portal. 

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