Acupuncture For Anxiety
Anxiety is the single most common mental illness in the US. Characterized by symptoms such as heightened stress levels, restlessness, and a sense of panic, it’s thought that general anxiety disorder is far more common in the West, especially higher income countries. According to the ADDA, it’s estimated that 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder.
Today’s prescription medications for anxiety may prove effective in treating anxiety to some level, but what they offer is far too broad to work on a patient-by-patient basis and treat individual anxiety symptoms. Studies have found that anti-anxiety medications need to target more specific neurons in the brain in order to be truly effective, in the same way that some alternative therapies, like acupuncture, are already doing.
How Acupuncture for Anxiety Works
An acupuncture session for anxiety involves the insertion of long, thin needles into different pressure points in the body. The best pressure points for anxiety include in the middle of the sole of the foot, on the tip area of the middle finger, and on the largest crease of the inner list. An acupuncture therapist will discuss your symptoms to best decide which pressure points will prove most effective.
Acupuncture works inside the body to treat the cause of anxiety: the hormones released by the brain. When a person is anxious, their brain releases anxiety-inducing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which result in a “fight or flight” reaction, displayed as physical and emotional signs of stress.
An acupuncture therapist will place needles within close proximity to specific nerves in the body, which are known to result in the production of chemicals that affect the part of the brain that controls emotions. The nervous system stimulates the brain to produce fewer anxiety-related hormones, helping to create an emotional balance and gradually reducing long-term symptoms of anxiety.
Proven Benefits of Acupuncture for Anxiety
It doesn’t take much researching to come across the numerous study-proven benefits of acupuncture for anxiety. Evidence from all over the world highlights the potential for acupuncture to reduce anxiety symptoms when compared to alternative treatment or no treatment at all.
One recent study found that traditional acupuncture could improve patients’ response to prescription anxiety medications, while potentially reducing the common side effects of these medications. The scientists behind the study also found that acupuncture improved general anxiety symptoms in people who weren’t taking a specific anxiety medication.
Even more promisingly, research conducted by the Xuzhou Guangci Hospital psychiatric department concluded that acupuncture used in combination with moxibustion, another traditional Chinese medication therapy, was safe for anxiety and could provide almost immediate symptomatic relief in anxiety patients.
The Future of Acupuncture for Anxiety
Treating anxiety with medication is rarely the best solution for reducing symptoms. As acupuncture is an almost entirely risk-free alternative therapy, it is being considered more and more often as the better treatment for managing anxiety on a long-term basis.