An anxiety disorder is a common mental illness defined by feelings of uneasiness, worry, and fear. While it’s common for everyone to experience bouts of anxiety at various times, people with anxiety disorders feel an inappropriate amount of anxiety, which is greater and more frequent than what might be considered reasonable.
In an effort to address this, many people have wondered: Does acupuncture work for anxiety? The following is a closer look at how acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine can alleviate stress and reduce anxiety.
First, what is anxiety and stress?
Stress is a highly personalized phenomenon that can vary widely for people, even in identical situations for different reasons. Many people who are prone to anxiety disorders have anxious personalities that make them susceptible to stress. Others have risk factors for anxiety disorders that include trauma, stress due to illness, stress buildup, mental health disorders such as depression, drug or alcohol abuse, or having blood relatives with anxiety disorders.
The impact of anxiety
For some people, anxiety may be linked to an underlying health issue. In some cases, anxiety signs and symptoms are the first indicators of other conditions including:
• Heart disease
• Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism
• Respiratory disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD and asthma
• Drug or alcohol abuse or withdrawal
• Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome
How does acupuncture work for anxiety?
Because anxiety disorders can be such a serious issue, many people have looked to both traditional and alternative medicine to treat them. They’ve found acupuncture to be an effective way to restore the balance of Yin and Yang in the body, which can alleviate stress and anxiety.
Acupuncture balances the energy or life force — known as qi — believed to flow through the body’s pathways or meridians. By inserting tiny needles into and around these specific points, acupuncture practitioners believe that body energy flow is re-balanced.
Acupuncture can be used for treating mood swings. It can also be used to treat pain by stimulating nerves, muscles, and connective tissue, which boosts the body's natural painkillers and increases blood flow.
Additional complementing therapies
Acupuncture combined with these additional alternative therapies can further alleviate anxiety disorders:
• Stress and relaxation techniques may produce modest, short-term reduction of anxiety in people with ongoing health problems, such as heart disease or inflammatory bowel disease
• Meditation can be useful for symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults.
• Yoga, which combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and a distinct philosophy, is known to alleviate stress.
• Kava, a plant found in the South Pacific, has been shown to be safe and effective in treating anxiety and improving moods.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, learn more about how acupuncture can help.
In addition, you can schedule an appointment for an acupuncture consultation and session at our clinic in Miami. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.