Acupuncture for Anxiety

If you or your child is struggling with anxiety, you are not alone. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in our country. Nervousness, stress, feeling overwhelmed, fear, irritability, worry and panic attacks are some of the ways that you may experience anxiety. Often mixed with depression or insomnia, anxiety whittles away your energy and can be debilitating. If fact, many don’t realize that anxiety is closely linked with suicide, which has skyrocketed in recent years. Luckily acupuncture for anxiety is an effective and natural solution for all ages.

Recent studies show that acupuncture often outperforms pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy in the treatment of anxiety (1-4). In one study acupuncture provided twice the reduction in both anxiety and depression symptoms when compared to conventional treatments (4).

Acupuncture reduces stress and anxiety by naturally downshifting and calming your nervous system. Recent studies show that acupuncture often outperforms pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy in the treatment of anxiety (1-4). In one study acupuncture was shown to provided twice the reduction in both anxiety and depression symptoms when compared to conventional treatments (4). Unlike over-the-counter or prescription medications, acupuncture has little to no side-effects.

 

Reduction in Hospital Anxiety Depression (HAD) scale after 4 and 8 weeks of Conventional Treatment, Acupuncture Treatment and Integrative Treatment (combined conventional treatment with acupuncture).4

 

As the main complaint or a secondary complaint, anxiety is the condition we treat most frequently in our clinic. In fact, some days it seems that our whole society is living in a state of chronic anxiety and many don’t even realize it. In addition to depression, insomnia and suicide, anxiety can also lead to the many health conditions that are caused or worsened by stress including, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, migrainesinfertilityallergies, frequent colds and flu, asthma, autoimmune disease and even cancer. Luckily acupuncture provides a safe and effective solution which allows you to regain control and reclaim your health.

This patient-centered and holistic approach, combined with acupuncture’s relaxation effect is what makes acupuncture for anxiety so effective.

With its holistic mind body approach, acupuncture has been treating emotional imbalances for over 3,000 years. Whether treating a physical ailment or an emotional ailment, acupuncture always looks at the whole person and takes both the physical and emotional into account when developing a treatment plan.

In Chinese Medicine, there is no single cause or diagnosis for anxiety. Each organ of the body, including the Lungs, Liver, Heart/Pericardium and Spleen, have their own unique mental and emotional influence within our body. Imbalances in any one or more of these organs can create variations in how anxiety manifests and is felt by a particular person. For example, some may experience anxiety as heart palpitations, worry and difficulty falling asleep. Others may experience anxiety as anger or irritability, panic attacks and restless or thrashing sleep. Still others may experience a high level of stress, frequent crying, depression, phobias and waking up at 4 a.m. every morning. All of these cases are examples of anxiety but the diagnosis and treatment in our clinic would be very different for each. This patient-centered and holistic approach, combined with acupuncture’s relaxation effect is what makes acupuncture for anxiety so effective.

It may seem like an oxymoron to get “stuck by needles” in order to relax. This can be difficult for children and adults that are afraid of needles to wrap their heads around. However, most patients are surprised by how profoundly relaxed they feel during their acupuncture treatments.

It may seem like an oxymoron to get “stuck by needles” in order to relax. This can be difficult for children and adults that are afraid of needles to wrap their heads around. However, most patients are surprised by how profoundly relaxed they feel during their acupuncture treatments. Many patients are even able to experience this profound state of relaxation during their very first treatment. After acupuncture, it’s not unusual for our patients to say “I can’t believe how relaxing that was” or “I don’t know where I went but I was on another planet.” For others it may take a few treatments in order for them to get used to the new experience. Eventually, most are able to experience the relaxing effects of acupuncture. This relaxation effect can continue on for several days and over a course of treatments becomes cumulative, reprogramming the body to live life on a less anxious level and correcting the underlying imbalances that generate the anxious state.

Acupuncture is a reset button that can help reverse anxiety.  Once you start to feel better, it will be easier to do the healthy things in your life that you want to do.

It is always helpful to combine acupuncture with daily anxiety reducing and stress reducing practices such as eliminating caffeine and adding gentle stretching, mindfulness meditation and exercise to your daily routine. If you struggle with insomnia, then it is also important to go to bed by 10 p.m. or earlier and limit work and screen time during the evening. The Bodyscan Meditation is an excellent introduction to mindfulness meditation and will help those with both anxiety and insomnia. Keep in mind that anxiety is one problem that can overtake your life and make it difficult for you to do the healthy things that you really want to do. If you find that you can’t add these healthy, stress reducing habits to your day right now, then start with just acupuncture. Acupuncture is a reset button that can help reverse anxiety.  Once you start to feel better, it will be easier to do the healthy things in your life that you want to do.

  1. Amorim D, Amado J, Brito I, Fiuza SM, Amorim N, Costeira C, Machado J.  Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2018 May; 31: 31-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.008
  2. Goyata SL, Avelino CC, Santos SV, Souza Junior DI, Gurgel MD, Terra FS. Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Rev Bras Enferm. 2016 Jun; 69(3):602-9. https://doi.org/10.1590/0034-7167.2016690325i
  3. Bazzan AJ, Zabrecky G, Monti DA, Newberg AB. Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Rev Neurother. 2014; 14:411- 23.
  4. Arvidsdotter T., Marklund B., Taft C. Effects of an integrative treatment, therapeutic acupuncture and conventional treatment in alleviating psychological distress in primary care patients–a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013; 13(1):308. http://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-13-308.
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