Acupuncture for Anxiety DisordersDealing with some recent weather calamities, it may be no surprise that more people might be on edge given the constant fear inducing media and unknown future of what our planet may have in store.

Anxiety can manifest in many different ways for many different reasons. It can be as powerful as creating great struggle to simply get out of bed in the morning to a constant shaking as if one had just consumed two cups of coffee.

A checklist of some common symptoms includes:

  • Irritability
  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension, trembling
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Fast heartbeat, tachycardia
  • Fast or troubled breathing, dyspnea
  • Stomach upset
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue

Either way, anxiety affects each person’s life differently and finding a solution to this challenge can be frustrating. Additional anxiety may be caused by conventional medicines’ prescribed, often numbing, band-aid remedies. Although many of these reap immediate, what may feel like ‘positive’ results, many times in the long run they do not alleviate the root cause but only the surface effects. The root of the anxiety could often remain lurking, waiting to manifest again when the time is right.

Acupuncture has thousands of years of successful findings to back up its approach to many afflictions, including anxiety. It works by assisting the inner power of the body known as qi (pronounced ‘chee’) which is believed to be the vital energy force coursing through your system at any given time. When the ‘river’ of qi becomes blocked by the pebbles and stones of life’s many obstacles, a variety of results can present themselves in the form of physical and mental diseases or conditions.

What the Science Says about Acupuncture for Relieving Anxiety
Acupuncture has been studied for its many healing effects. However, it is difficult for doctors/scientists to grasp the philosophy of qi. Measuring vital energy flow is basically impossible when it comes to tangible science. However, many studies have shown a variety of positive reactions when acupuncture is administered convincing many conventional practitioners of its valid healing capabilities. In the case of acute or chronic anxiety, body as well as auricular (ear) acupuncture has shown great promise especially for those that have struggled through the prescription/psychotherapy attempts.

  • A 2011 study published in the Journal of Research and Medical Sciences concluded that: “Both auricular and body acupuncture treatment methods were effective in decreasing anxiety in preoperative patients.”
  • A 2007 study published in Acupuncture in Medicine: Journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society concluded that more research should be done regarding the effects of acupuncture and that, “Positive findings are reported for acupuncture in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder or anxiety neurosis”
  • A 2001 study published in Acupuncture Today and Anesthesia and Analgesia showed testing for acupuncture for pre-operative anxiety. Two researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine – Drs. Shu-Ming Wang and Zeev N. Kain – assembled a group of 55 patients for a blinded, randomized controlled trial to ascertain whether auricular acupuncture could decrease acute anxiety. Subjects who received acupuncture at a particular point did experience a profound change in their behavioral anxiety levels – an effect that, the researchers theorize, could help reduce the levels of pain and stress in patients undergoing surgery.

Shen Men: The Go-To Auricular Acupuncture Point for Anxiety and More
Auricular acupuncture is targeting specific points in, on, and along each ear. It is often an excellent way to experience acupuncture for the first time especially if there is an additional anxiety associated with needles. Note: Acupuncture needles are painless, hair thin, sterilized and extremely safe. The most you might feel from an acupuncture treatment is a slight pinch as well as possible energy movement which may result in an odd or fleeting electrical sensation.

Shen Men (a/k/a Heaven’s Gate, Opening to the Spirit) is a common, useful point that is sometimes referred to as a ‘speed point’ inasmuch that it supports and strengthens the effects of other points. Shen means mind, spirit, consciousness and Men means gate, door, entry. It is located on the inner ear’s upper part of the posterior third inferior lateral wall of the triangular fossa. This point calms the spirit, effectively controls pain, useful in convulsions, sedation, anxiety, depression, worry, sleeplessness, impatience, shock, addiction withdrawal, restlessness, dysphoria, hysteria, neuralgia, headaches, and also improves memory and concentration. Heart 7 (HT7) located on the inner wrist is the non-auricular location also labeled Shen Men. HT7 also calms the spirit, regulates and invigorates the heart.

Acupuncture Diagnostic and Differential Points for Anxiety Disorders
In Classical Chinese Medicine, approaching anxiety through the consideration of weakness within the entire anatomical system is often the first step to the proper treatment protocol. In addition to the above mentioned symptoms, before administering acupuncture points it is important to assess some key diagnostic points first. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • History of mental conflict/stress.
  • A reduction in cerebral functioning (i.e.: memory challenges, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, lethargy and waking too easily in the morning).
  • Sound/light sensitivity, mood swings, and restlessness.
  • Abdominal distention, heart palpitations, anorexia, frequent urination, constipation.
  • Internal viscera disease adding to neurosis/anxiety.

There are also many variations of differential points that parallel the above key diagnostic points. These include:

  • Heart and Kidney failing to communicate
  • Stagnation of Liver qi
  • Phlegm heat harassing the mind
  • Deficiency of the Heart and Spleen

Combining these point assessments can create an intricate map for the acupuncturist to follow. The closer the assessment the more rapid the response thus, in this case, alleviating anxiety without a conventional protocol. Going even further and including the many facets of naturopathic medicine can only enhance recovery and healing.

At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth

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