Mental Health / Life Coaching
Life presents us with biological, psychological and emotional challenges. Over times these challenges can lead to anger, hopelessness, sadness, anxiety and stress. Managing the thoughts, emotions and behaviors that accompany our lifes trials and tribulations allows us to remain focused and function better.
Are There Any Risks
While acupuncture wont make your anxiety worse, it does come with some possible side effects and risks. You can avoid most of these by making sure you see a licensed acupuncturist. In the United States, license requirements vary from state to state, but most require taking an exam from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
The main side effect that people experience with acupuncture is soreness following a session. This usually goes away within a few hours, though it can also leave some bruising. Some people also feel pinpricks of pain during a session.
Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles. You could get an infection if your practitioner didnt use properly sterilized needles. The Mayo Clinic notes that these complications are very uncommon if you see an experienced, certified acupuncturist.
People with some health conditions shouldnt have acupuncture. You should avoid acupuncture if you:
- have a pacemaker
- have a bleeding condition, such as hemophilia
Its also important to keep up with any ongoing anxiety treatment, including prescribed medications, while getting acupuncture. You shouldnt stop any medications without first discussing with your doctor.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Acupuncture Treatment For Anxiety
The benefits are:
- The mood gets changed when the proper amount of hormones, such as noradrenaline, serotonin, GABA, dopamine and neuropeptide Y are released.
- Acupuncture helps in regulating the amount of these mood-changing neurohormones in the body.
- It also causes a reduction of pain and stress, which are always related to anxiety through ear acupuncture points.
- It helps in the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the sensation of relaxation.
Don’t Miss: Can Stress Cause Sharp Chest Pain
Acupuncture For Depression Research: A Review Study
Rather than consider the results of individual studies, here we will take a look at the findings of one large review study that included 64 studies and 7104 participants.
What that study showed was that most of the studies included in the review were at risk for various kinds of bias
However, there was low-quality evidence suggesting that acupuncture could moderately reduce the severity of depression compared to no treatment, waitlist, or treatment as usual.
When compared with sham acupuncture, it was shown that there was a small reduction in the severity of depression. This suggests that acupuncture may have more of an effect beyond just as a placebo for depression.
Compared to medication, there was low-quality evidence of a small benefit, which varied by type of medication and the mode of acupuncture .
Finally, when compared with psychological therapy, the results were unclear. No conclusions could be drawn about evidence of an effect beyond that observed for psychological therapy for depression.
In addition, few of the studies conducted follow-ups or studied other variables such as quality of life, which are important in depression research.
Acupuncture For Anxiety Pdf
You can download a PDF version of this summary here:
According to the most up to date evidence, acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety. In 2017, The Acupuncture Evidence Project, co-authored by Dr John McDonald, PhD and Dr Stephen Janz,4 was published, providing an up-to-date comparative review of the clinical and scientific evidence for acupuncture. This comprehensive document, updating two previous reviews, determined that acupuncture is moderately effective in treating anxiety according to high level evidence.5 Their evidence included a 2016 systematic review with over 400 randomised patients that concluded that the effects from acupuncture for treating anxiety have been shown to be significant as compared to conventional treatments.6 The largest of these studies, which included 120 randomized patients, found that acupuncture had a large effect on reducing anxiety and depression compared to conventional treatment involving pharmacological approaches and psychotherapy, with over twice the reduction in symptoms.7
A more recent systematic review published in 2018 found that all 13 included studies reported an anxiety decrease for their treatment group relative to the control groups. Three of these studies used pharmaceuticals as controls.8
Also Check: How Does Meditation Help With Stress
Common Acupuncture Points For Stress Relief
There is no one-size-fits-all method for treating stress with acupuncture.
Although some acupuncture points can continuously improve pressure, acupuncture treatment is always tailored to the patient and his specific physique and symptoms, said Vander Baan. Because stress has a systemic effect on the body, we want to treat the whole person and consider the imbalance of that particular person.
Having said that, Vander Baan often uses specific acupuncture points to relieve pressure on patients. These include:
- PC6 on the inside of the wrist
- HT7 on the inside of the wrist
- Eyebrow Yintang
- Ear points, known to regulate the nervous system
In his practice, Sher uses DU-20 on the top of his head to heal the stress of his acupuncturists.
DU-20 can make you clear your mind, make you feel focused and living in the moment, and it can also help relieve depression and sadness, he said.
Like Vander Baan, Sher also uses acupoint yin decoction to treat stress.
Drinking soup can calm the mind, eliminate emotional restlessness and anxiety-it can also promote deep relaxation and treat insomnia, Schell said.
Ren-17 is located in the middle of the chest and is another point Sher uses to relieve stress during acupuncture practice.
This is especially For those who tend to feel the effects of chest pressure or anxiety, such as shortness of breath, nervousness, or palpitations, Sher said. Ren-17 relaxes and opens the chest and releases the diaphragm.
Five Reasons Acupuncture Helps Reduce Stress
Stress is a word many people are familiar with. The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but there is only one that matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. The definition is this, stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. And while most people think of stress as being detrimental, it truly does have a function in our bodies. Stress is the bodys way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we dont listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses.
Cortisol is the hormone most closely related to stress. Cortisol is a big component of the fight or flight response we feel when we are scared or threatened. And in small bursts, cortisol is helpful. However, when stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels become elevated and never return to normal. This puts the body in a constant state of being on edge, eventually causing insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and even mental illness.
There are ways to fight and reduce stress though. Simple things like exercise, meditation, coloring, talking with friends and even acupuncture. Admittedly, most people dont think of being stuck with tiny needles as relaxing, but it really is. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and it is becoming more mainstream every single day. It is even being used in some hospital emergency rooms for those who are in pain and anxious.
Recommended Reading: Am I Stressed Or Anxious
Acupuncture Risks And Safety
It should also be noted that acupuncture is not an entirely safe treatment strategy. Although it is often marketed as safe and natural, there are risks involved with this type of treatment, including:
- Risk of Infection – Any time a needle penetrates the skin, there is a chance that bacteria can enter the wound.
- Damage to Organs – These needles are sharp, and should the needle be pushed too deeply it may hit an organ.
- Broken Needles – Although rare, the needles in acupuncture can break. Broken needles deep in the skin may also migrate to another area of the body, increasing risk.
While all of these risks are rare, they do mean that acupuncture is not a 100% safe treatment.
Benefits Of Acupuncture And Chiropractic Care From Our Omaha Chiropractor
Research has shown that acupuncture can be highly effective at treating anxiety. Studies as large as 120 participants in size have demonstrated that acupuncture has a major positive effect on anxiety symptoms . Chiropractic care can enhance these effects by relieving nerve impingement and relieving strain on muscle groups.
Don’t Miss: What Relieves Stress The Most
How Does Acupuncture Help Anxiety
To treat anxiety successfully, the Chinese medicine practitioner looks at both body and mind. The practitioner works to restore balance through acupuncture meridians that affect the heart and kidney channels. He or she will also likely recommend several herbs to strengthen yin or yang qi. In addition, an acupuncturist trained in Herbal medicine may prescribe herbal remedies to minimize withdrawal symptoms from anti-anxiety drugs. As research reveals though, the best results come from a combination approach when it comes to treating anxiety disorders with acupuncture.
What To Expect When You Undergo Acupuncture For Anxiety
It is okay to be nervous on your first visit to the acupuncturist as the needles used are evidently intriguing. When you have an idea as for what happens in an acupuncture session for treating anxiety, your mind gets a little prepared, and this, in turn, helps to enhance the benefits of your acupuncture session.
The Amazing Benefits of Doing Reverse Crunches
The first visit can always take more time as compared to your follow-ups as the practitioner investigates and understands your problems to figure out the root cause of anxiety. Your practitioner will also inquire about your medical history, present medications, allergies, and other health-related questions before the treatment begins.
When the session begins, the acupuncturist will insert thin, long sterilized needles on various pressure points chosen as per their analysis. This insertion is almost painless, and you will not feel them getting into your skin mostly. They may also twist or electrocute them as per your case and then leave them as it is for approximately 20 minutes.
Depending on different scenarios, it takes around 30-45 minutes for an acupuncture session for anxiety relief to complete.
Also Check: Can Stress Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes
How Often Should You Get Acupuncture For Anxiety And Stress
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are tailored to each person and how they respond. In general, acupuncture sessions take place twice a week for a month and then to start to move the sessions to once a week, and eventually to every other week. This may be adapted depending on what other health issues and life circumstances. It is important that the patient be proactive in helping themselves so they can take control of what their stress and anxiety triggers are.
Stress and anxiety take some time to get under control at least 6-12 months. Its ideal to do acupuncture along with mindfulness practices such as breathing, meditation, and strategies to identify emotional triggers.
Generate Results In As Little As 1 Session
Anxiety can leave people feeling on edge, irritable, angry, sad, or even dissociated. It may be difficult to function when stress is high and many people are unable to engage in simple activities like grocery shopping or going to school or work. Immediate relief is often needed. Some anxiety medications take weeks to begin working as they build up in a persons system to a therapeutic level. This can leave patients struggling to process stress and worry during this time and does not provide an immediate solution that allows people to quickly get back to their normal daily lives.
On the other hand, acupuncture can provide relief from anxiety in just a single session. While most patients choose to undergo several sessions, especially at the beginning of their therapy, some improvement can often be achieved during the very first appointment.
Read Also: What To Do For Stressed Dog
Finding Teen Acupuncture For Ocd
Of course, finding a teen OCD treatment program that includes acupuncture is a challenge. Destinations for Teens in Woodland Hills, California provides this alternative therapy along with evidence-based methods and individual treatment planning for teens. For your loved ones recovery from OCD symptoms and problems, consider acupuncture for OCD. Call Destinations for Teens now at .
The Problem With Too Many Problems
The problem comes when we are chronically locked into a fight-or-flight response, due to our perception of ongoing threats. In the average life of many modern urban students and professionals like most of the clients that come to our clinic, almost all of these threats are mental and emotional in naturenot threats of actual physical harm. When stress becomes chronic, our digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, and hormonal systems, as well as our brain, start to take a beating.
This kind of chronic stress starts to lead to the extensive list of stress-related symptoms mentioned above. Not so great.
Don’t Miss: What Can You Do To Get Rid Of Stress
How Acupuncture Can Help With Stress And Anxiety
Written byTsao-Lin Moy, LAc
Acupuncture is extremely safe and effective for relieving stress and anxiety. It is even used in the military to help treat soldiers with PTSD. Stress and anxiety are triggers for each other.
Stress is the cause of many underlying chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and metabolic imbalances and weakens the immune system. We tend to think of stress as an event that we could barely cope with. Over time, psychological stress affects the bodys immune responses.
Acupuncture For Stress And Anxiety
Stress, anxiety or depression interrupts the flow of energy throughout your body. According to Chinese medicine, energy flows through our body through a highway system, or meridian pathways. However, stress acts like a traffic jam, blocking the free flow of energy throughout the body. In a highway system, when there is a roadblock, it generally affects other areas. This is true for stress as well, which may affect many other parts of the body like digestion, blood pressure, pain and the ability to sleep. Through acupuncture treatment, these energy blockages can be addressed.
Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly, and alleviate stress and anxiety altogether. It works to ease stress by releasing endorphins, which are natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain. Additionally, acupuncture improves the circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and other unwanted chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also plays a factor in decreasing stress. The experience of acupuncture is quite relaxing. Once the needles are in the affected areas, you are able to lie quietly on a comfortable table with low lighting and soft music in the background. This helps lower your blood pressure, decrease your heart rate and relaxes your muscles.
Recommended Reading: Where Does Stress Come From
The Point Of View In Tcm For Anxiety
Traditional Chinese Medicine views anxiety or nervousness as stemming from an imbalance of the yin and yang, in the heart and kidney meridians, respectively. Other TCM practitioners believe anxiety stems from a variety of factors that affect different people in different ways. Some practitioners believe that it is related to cardiac disharmony , spleen qi deficiency, kidney yin deficiency, liver qi stagnation, and blood stasis.
In terms of TCM, anxiety can be induced by the follows:
- an overly active mind/ emotions,
- liver qi stagnation
- the poor blood circulation of meridians
- Qi Deficiency
In either case, an acupuncturist may identify the symptoms of anxiety:
- shortness of breath,
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that acupuncture can balance these various factors and bring about a reduction in anxiety and its symptoms.
Regardless of which school of thought is used to treat anxiety, it is commonly accepted that acupuncture based on Traditional Chinese Medicine has a positive effect on those suffering from anxiety. The main theory behind the effectiveness of this form of treatment comes from the widespread idea that acupuncture restores balance within the body. Since TCM believes all aspects of ones life are interconnected and each affects another positively or negatively, restoring balance through treatments will produce positive effects on anxiety.
Creating Balance In The Nervous System
A meta-analysis study has shown that the HRV scores were improved by implementing acupuncture treatment. This has helped many patients in improving their health conditions as well as mental conditions.
Heart diseases, anxiety, insomnia, depression and muscle pains were included in the study, and it was proved effective on the same.
Most important consideration in this treatment is the dosage. The dosage of acupuncture is significant in helping patients for getting better results. Frequency and duration of the treatment are some of the other important considerations.
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Weight Gain
How Many Treatments Do I Need To Relieve Stress
The number of treatments depends on how long you have experienced stress and how severe your Qi blockages are. In your first appointment at the PIHMA Clinic, you will be given a treatment plan with the recommended number of treatments you should receive. Most patients will schedule one or two treatments a week to start. As symptoms, subside fewer treatments may be needed. Patients should begin to experience some stress relief after their first treatment.
What Are The Benefits
There have been several studies done about the effects of acupuncture on anxiety. These studies have focused mostly on generalized anxiety disorder and suggest that acupuncture is helpful in treating general anxiety.
One promising study from 2015, for example, found that acupuncture improved symptoms in people with anxiety that didnt respond to other treatments, including psychotherapy and medication. Participants received ten 30-minute sessions of acupuncture over the course of 12 weeks. They experienced a significant reduction in their anxiety, even 10 weeks after treatment.
However, two reviews of existing research, one from 2007 and another from 2013, note that many studies on the subject arent very reliable. Some had very few participants including the one mentioned above while others were poorly designed. On the other hand, these reviews also point out that acupuncture doesnt seem to have a negative effect on anxiety.
In a more recent 2016 study on rats, acupuncture was found to be effective for reducing anxiety. The researchers suggested that it impacts how the body triggers the fight-or-flight response.
While we need to better understand how acupuncture affects anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias, research is showing promise for acupuncture as a viable and safe option. If you have anxiety that hasnt responded to other treatment methods, or youre simply interested in trying something new, acupuncture shouldnt worsen your symptoms.
Read Also: How To Stop Stressing About Work