We’re already doing all the yoga, meditation, and exercise – what additional ways can we naturally decrease stress levels in our bodies?
Now that we know with certainty that stress is directly related to our skin health – we wanted to point out some new stress relief practices that are trending in 2022. And for good reason.
Although it may be “trending”, Acupuncture is anything but new. The first clearly documented use of the traditional Chinese medicine practice dates back to 100 BCE.
The theory behind Acupuncture comes from ancient Chinese philosophy that disease or disfunction is caused by an imbalance of the Yin and Yang, the life force of the body.
This imbalance obstructs the functioning of the body system. The goal of acupuncture is to bring the yin the yang back into balance with each other, restoring health to the individual.
So how does that work exactly?
During a treatment, tiny (practically painless) needles are inserted into specific spots in the body to stimulate nerves under the skin. The nerve then sends a message to the brain to release endorphins, or natural pain killing chemicals that help us feel relaxed, happy and calm.
Blood will flow where the needles are inserted, resulting in an increase of blood flow throughout the body. This helps to improve function of the area as well as circulate and expel cortisol (that stress hormone we talked about in the last blog) and other pro-inflammatory chemicals from the body.
The same mechanism applies to the practice of cupping – another similarly effective modality for stress relief.
Since 100 BCE, Acupuncture has been studied extensively. In this study, patients who were given acupuncture treatments twice weekly for 2 weeks, then weekly for 6 weeks had an increase in their Heart Rate Variability during and immediately after the treatment, but in some instances even weeks or months later.
This tells us that Acupuncture lowers the amount of physiological stress even in the long term.
Take your meditation to a higher, stress-melting level by adding music or healing sounds such as gongs, singing bowls or sounds of nature.
While there isn’t much solid research yet about the effectiveness of sound healing, belief in the practice comes from abundant research surrounding the effects of music with meditation.
In a study published in 2019, participants used a stress relief app with both musical and non-musical methods of stress reduction (like guided mediation). While both were effective at reducing stress and helping to relax, it was the music that brought about an "activation" or positive arousal.
This 2016 study of the effects of singing sound bowls on wellbeing found that sound baths elicit the relaxation response. Breathing becomes deeper, blood pressure and heart rate lowers and the body goes into healing mode – much like sleep.
The mechanisms behind why this works are still unclear, but there are many theories mainly surrounding deep healing brainwave states and vibrations in the brain that music or sound elicit.
Typical stress medication or supplements can sometimes work by sedating the mind, at the expense of optimal brain power.
Nootropics are a new class of natural brain boosting supplements that work in a different way – by relieving tension while boostingthe mind.
For stress, the nootropics you are looking for are adaptogens. Adaptogens are certain plants and mushrooms with the ability to help the body adapt to stressors, helping to prevent negative effects of the stress response to the bodies physiologic functioning.
Some notable stress reducing adaptogen nootropics include:
Rhodiola Rosea – it works with your HPA axis to reduce the amount of cortisol released into the bloodstream.
Bacopa Monnieri – Similar to Rhodiola, it prevents the release of stress hormones while also helping produce some of the calming ones including serotonin and GABA. In this animal study, it’s even being compared to anti-anxiety pharmaceutical medication.
Why does stress matter when it comes to the skin? Here’s a recap of some of the physical effects of stress on your skin:
The stress hormone cortisol leads to an overproduction of sebum (oil) in your skin glands, which causes acne breakouts.
Stress weakens your immune system by destroying the beneficial bacteria in the skin microbiome, causing your skin to be more reactive and sensitive, and triggers rashes, hives, and redness.
Stress exacerbates existing inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
Stress may cause you to feel overwhelmed or anxious, and pick at scabs or acne, or scratch your skin until it becomes red or breaks.
A proper skincare regimen is just one piece of the beautiful skin puzzle. Skin health starts with your mental and physical health. What you eat matters, what you think & believe matters and clearly how you handle the everyday stressors of life truly matters.
There are so many enjoyable, fun ways to manage the stress that comes with everyday life. We encourage you to try something new!
*All content and information on this website is for information and educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice. Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here Is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult your physician or other healthcare professional prior to making any medical or health related decisions. GLOWBIOTICS is not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon information on this website.
Sparrow K, Golianu B. Does Acupuncture Reduce Stress Over Time? A Clinical Heart Rate Variability Study in Hypertensive Patients. Med Acupunct. 2014;26(5):286-294. doi:10.1089/acu.2014.1050
Kappert MB, Wuttke-Linnemann A, Schlotz W, Nater UM. The Aim Justifies the Means-Differences Among Musical and Nonmusical Means of Relaxation or Activation Induction in Daily Life. Front Hum Neurosci. 2019;13:36. Published 2019 Feb 22. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00036
Goldsby TL, Goldsby ME, McWalters M, Mills PJ. Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood, Tension, and Well-being: An Observational Study.Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. July 2017:401-406. doi:10.1177/2156587216668109
Bhattacharya SK, Ghosal S. Anxiolytic activity of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera: an experimental study. Phytomedicine. 1998 Apr;5(2):77-82. doi: 10.1016/S0944-7113(98)80001-9. PMID: 23195757.
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