Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine for Stress and Burnout

Posted by davidscrimgeour on August 17th, 2015

Today, the rates of burnout are growing astronomically as more and more people experience prolonged periods of high stress and a general imbalance in lifestyle. The symptoms of stress may include heightened anxiety and nervous tension, inability to fall asleep easily or stay asleep, restlessness, diminished focus and memory, disordered digestion, fatigue and irritability. We are wired to handle high-stress situations on an occasional basis, but when they occur on a regular basis we end up depleting our adrenal reserves and become more and more unable to handle the basic stresses of life.

David Scrimgeour, Acupuncturist and Chinese medical practitioner in Boulder, Colorado says that many of his patients come to him for stress, burnout and adrenal deficiency. “We live in a fast-paced world, and people often burn the candle at both ends. I see people on a daily basis who are burned out physically, mentally and emotionally.Stress not only lowers the quality of one’s life, but it also leads to many chronic health problems down the road.” The following are Scrimgeour’s recommendations for reducing stress:

  1. Acupuncture helps bring the body back into balance better than anything else, says David Scrimgeour. It helps deal with stress in two ways. First, it calms the “spirit” when there is an imbalance in the body’s energy system. This enables the body to calm down. Secondly, acupuncture regulates the autonomic nervous system or the involuntary functions of the body. When the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s “fight or flight” responses to a threat, is upregulated, it becomes impossible to relax because of the adrenaline and cortisol pumping through the body. Acupuncture has the effect of bringing the body into the parasympathetic mode, which controls homeostasis and is responsible for the body’s digestive and rest functions. In this mode you can relax and think more clearly. Acupuncture also causes the body to secrete endorphins, which can induce a very relaxed state.
  1. Chinese medicine has a profound understanding of adrenal burnout which it calls “kidney deficiency” and addresses it with specific herbs called adaptogens to correct the problem. These herbs have the ability to strengthen the body and specifically, the adrenals and the immune system. Most prominent among them, ginseng has been used in Asia for centuries to increase energy, stamina, mental clarity and help one adapt to stress. Some of the superior tonic herbs include ginseng, reishi, cordyceps, rhodiola, Siberian ginseng, astragalus and gynostemma. Chinese medicine usually combines a number of them in tonic formulas in order to enhance the effect of each herb. David Scrimgeour feels that one of the best formulas for stress and adrenal deficiency is Supreme Immune Tonic. “So many of my patients have benefited enormously from this formula as well as from acupuncture,” says Scrimgeour.
  1. David Scrimgeour maintains that the final key to controlling stress is to make lifestyle changes. Tune into what your body is telling you. If you’re tired, slow down and get more sleep. Look at the quality of your diet – are you truly nourishing your body or just satisfying hunger? Make time for exercise. Go for a walk in nature and notice the beauty. Or take up yoga, tai chi or qi gong. Start doing things that you truly enjoy. If you’ve never tried meditation, start your day with a short meditation. Leave all your thoughts about what you will do that day and just watch your breath – you’ll be amazed at how calm you feel.

With Acupuncture, Chinese herbs and some important lifestyle changes, you can reduce your stress and start enjoying your life more.

David Scrimgeour practices acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at his clinic in Boulder, Colorado. He also serves the Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette and Erie areas in Colorado. For more information about stress, adrenal deficiency and burnout, he can be reached at 303 413-9596 or through his website:

Kathy Thorpe is a natural health writer and blogger who has been writing about alternative approaches to health and wellness for the past ten years. Prior to that, she taught English at U.C. Berkeley and at the University of Colorado. She can be reached at 303 583-0179.

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