*One in five Britons suffers from stress during the festive season. Tiredness, lack of exercise, an overload of people, alcohol, food, spending and over-excited children can all contribute to increasing levels of stress. Beverly Dickins, acupuncturist and British Acupuncture Council member explains that the pressures at this time of year can have a very real impact on our well-being.
"From shopper's backache and Christmas dinner panic to December dehydration and over-spending insomnia, the festive season is a stressful time for many of us," she said. "The most common symptom of stress is a breakdown in your immune system, leaving you susceptible to colds and illness. Eating fattening foods, taking less exercise and stressful situations between family members can really take their toll on your health." "Holistic therapies such as acupuncture can help you cope with these demands and enable you to stay on top of things." Stress, anger, or any intense emotion acts like a traffic jam, blocking the free flow of energy in the body. One of the many symptoms people who are very stressed experience is upper back, shoulder and neck pain. This is because stress causes the 'snarling up' of the energy passing through channels in these areas causing pain, tension and stiffness - often resulting in headaches as well. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture can help energy flow smoothly, and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the underlying stress and anxiety itself. In addition, acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body. The calming nature of acupuncture also helps decrease heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. Beverley said as the winter days become shorter and colder and with most of us trying to cram in last minute work, many people will start to feel tired and rundown as the festive season approaches. "In over 25 years of practice I have been continually impressed at the breadth and power of acupuncture as it has something for everyone and can really help in situations like this," she said. "Acupuncture can assist with the following symptoms:
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