Acupuncture really does reduce stress levels, say scientists.
In the first study of its kind, a team found the ancient Chinese therapy reduces levels of a protein linked to chronic stress.
The U.S. study tested the effect of acupuncture on blood levels of the protein neuropeptide Y (NPY), which is secreted by the sympathetic nervous system in humans.
This system is involved in the ‘flight or fight’ response to acute stress, resulting in constriction of blood flow to all parts of the body except to the heart, lungs and brain (the organs most needed to react to danger).
Chronic stress, however, can cause elevated blood pressure and cardiac disease.