Wellness Wednesday - Acupuncture Helps Anxiety?

If you're like me your first thought is, "how does sticking myself with needles help with my anxiety?" However, we have an awesome acupuncturist on staff here who discusses the benefits that acupuncture can have in helping with the symptoms of anxiety. Check it out! - Dave


Anxiety is a frequently seen complaint which can range from mild to a debilitating.  Many people suffer from some form of anxiety on occasion, but in other cases, find they cannot manage this normal response of the body to acute or chronic stress in their lives.

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shortness of breath, tight feeling in the chest, irregular heartbeat, abdominal pain, or neck and back tension respond well to acupuncture.   Acupuncture assists the body in getting out of the sympathetic (fight or flight) state and to activate the parasympathetic (rest and digest) state of the body.

In East Asian medicine’s view of the body, the physical and the emotional are inseparable, and thus, an imbalance in one also presents as an imbalance in the other and vice-versa.   Treating the underlying physical imbalance (physical symptoms) can result in improvements in the emotional balance (the thoughts and feelings) over the long-term.

I have experience in working with patients who are also seeing a clinical psychologist or other therapist.  We have found that combining acupuncture and psychological interventions are often very effective in treating a person’s condition.   The key is having both practitioners in close communication with each other on the patient’s progress and issues and working as a team.
One advantage of acupuncture in treating anxiety is that often the results are immediate improvements in the symptoms after the treatment.  Although the results after an initial appointment may only be partial, there is often a reduction of symptoms and a feeling of well-being. With subsequent treatments, the periods of well-being tend to last longer and longer until either the patient requires no more treatments, or only periodic “tune-ups” to maintain their well-being. 

- Vel Natarajan