Prolonged stress usually manifests in physical symptoms, which vary considerably from person to person; one might have headaches, another may get IBS, a third may have trouble sleeping, and someone else may have bouts of eczema. On an emotional level also there is a wide range of problems: there may be a low level background anxiety, or frequent angry outbursts, fear related to a specific problem such as job insecurity, or pent-up frustration.
So if you come for acupuncture treatment for some kind of stress-related problem, we will not be doing some standard treatment for ‘stress’. Instead, we will listen carefully to how you describe your difficulties, including how stress is affecting you both physically and emotionally. Many people may describe themselves as suffering from stress, but no two will have the same story to tell.
In fact we adopt this individualised approach with all our patients, regardless of their complaint. One person’s migraine is not the same as another’s. One person’s sprained ankle is not the same as another’s. One person’s low back pain is not the same as another’s.
This is partly because a person is not separate from their health problem, and treatment needs to be aimed at the person as a whole, not just their migraine/ankle/back. People are very varied, both physically and psychologically, perhaps more so than we tend to think. There is not much benefit to be had from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treatment, whether the problem is to do with stress or with any other aspect of our lives.