Acupuncture for anxiety and anxiety disorders
Anxiety is something frequently seen in the acupuncture clinic and even
though many will not come specifically for anxiety and are not necessarily
diagnosed with GAD, there is often some level of anxiety or stress playing
a part in the bigger picture of individual.
Traditional Chinese Medicine includes acupuncture and aims to
treat the reason why the anxiety and stress appears in the first place. It is
traditionally a preventative medicine so ideally if you are having any of the
GAD symptoms even if not all the time, it would be good to address
those anxiety tendencies before they get to the more extreme GAD
stage. As TCM focuses on treating the whole being, TCM acupuncturists
may encourage changes to or supplementation with herbs, diet and life-
style in order to get optimum results.
Anxiety in general is seen as a problem with the ‘shen’ or ‘spirit’ in TCM
though the reason why it surfaced can be from various imbalances or
deficiencies in the body. It is the shen as well as the underlying cause of
unsettled shen, that we focus on in treatments in order to restore bal-
ance.Acupuncture for anxiety
Those who have tried acupuncture will be aware of the relaxing effect it
can have and some of my clients come just to make sure they have an
hour of forced relaxation regularly. Research has shown that acupuncture
can release opioid peptides such as endorphins which helps to ex-
plain this feeling of relaxation. Acupuncture could be seen as the cheats
way of getting into a meditative state without having to do the hard work
to get there!
The use of acupuncture for anxiety seems to have very little side effects so can serve as either an addition
to, or an alternative to pharmaceutical medications which can sometimes have serious adverse side
A recent study also found a reduction in medication required when acupuncture,
couraged lifestyle factors such as nutrition,
yogic breathing, self/partner massage, journaling, counselling and
exercise were used.