How to Ease Your Holiday Stress
It’s that time of year again, when thoughts turn to decorating, gathering with family and friends,
and celebrating over good food. Oh. And stress. Lots and lots of stress. Whether it’s finding the
right gifts for everyone, balancing kids’ school concerts with party invites, or dealing with a
neverending to-do list, the holiday season can be downright overwhelming. It’s enough to make
even your normally zen acupuncturists just a little edgy.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Really. It doesn’t. Doing just a few things can help buffer you
against the stresses of the season so you can be really present and actually enjoy it.
A stress primer
When trying to reduce stress, it helps to understand how our bodies respond to stressful
situations. Thanks to millions of years of evolution, our nervous systems are finely tuned to
detect threats in our environment and respond by triggering a surge of adrenaline and other
hormones to, well, get us the heck out of Dodge. Quickly.
This is great when you’re, say, trying to evade a mountain lion intent on making you its dinner.
That’s what our fight-or-flight response is for: a quick burst of energy that lasts about 15
The problem with our modern lives, though, is that we are constantly exposed to stressors that
are not life-or-death situations, but our brains still perceive them as such. So the fight-or-flight
response gets fired again, and again, and again. Our bodies just don’t get a break. It’s a little
like running an engine at full throttle without any oil or coolant — pretty soon things start to melt
down and fly apart.
Stress can take a real toll on the body. It interferes with digestion, disrupts sleep, lowers
immune response, slows healing, and muddies thinking. We all know the signs of stress:
tiredness, poor decision making, weird stomach symptoms, colds and flus that never seem to
end, and irritability. Really not fun at any time of year, but especially not around the holidays.
Beating holiday stress with acupuncture, KOH, and community!
So, you probably knew this was coming, but getting into the clinic more often during the holiday
season — or any stressful time — really is a great way to help ease stress. Both acupuncture and
Kruger Omni Healing (KOH) work with the same systems involved the stress response in the
In particular, acupuncture and KOH get the body back into a restful state and out of the fight-or-
flight cycle. In that mode, the body’s systems find their equilibrium again: digestion normalizes,
sleep improves, and immune and healing responses increase. In addition to decreasing stress,
regular treatments can increase the body’s resiliency so it responds to stressors more
appropriately. The body doesn’t go to DEFCON 1 when the line for gift-wrapping gets too long,
or a loved one forgets to pick up cranberry sauce before the stores close. Everyone suddenly,
miraculously, seems far less annoying.
Getting your treatments at Stillpoint also comes with a bonus stress-reducer: community! Social
interactions can greatly reduce stress, and when we’re stressed we often withdraw because we
feel we don’t have time to meet up with friends and acquaintances. Whether it’s chatting with
one of our friendly volunteer receptionists, or just taking in the energy in our treatment room with
fellow acu-nappers, Stillpoint provides many opportunities to amplify healing through
A serene holiday season
The holidays don’t have to be a stress fest. A little more needling, maybe a KOH session, and
the healing gift of community will all go a long way to curbing that fight-or-flight response. Then
you can leave the holiday stress to the movies. In fact, why not curl up on the couch and watch
Jimmy Stewart struggle to save a Depression-era bank at Christmas in It’s a Wonderful Life? Or
marvel at how the Cratchits keep the season in A Christmas Carol? And, if you want a laugh,
find a copy of Stuart McLean’s story “Dave Cooks a Turkey.” Your heart will definitely grow a
From all of us at Stillpoint, we wish our community a happy, healthy — and calm — holiday