Anxiety is a chronic disease that cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be monitored and managed for healthy living. Acupuncture for anxiety is rapidly gaining popularity among people suffering from anxiety because of its effectiveness and harmful risks.
Before finding out how acupuncture helps with anxiety, let’s find out more about Acupuncture.
1. More About Acupuncture
1.1. What Is Acupuncture?
A traditional Chinese healing practice, Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that helps with many diseases. It is believed that a body contains more than two thousand acupuncture points connected.
The pathways which connect these acupuncture points are considered to create an energy flow known as Qi, pronounced as ‘chee’, throughout the body.
Diseases or disorders occur when these energy flows are compromised. Acupuncture, a Chinese medicine, helps in regulating these energy flow pathways.
1.2. How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is widely known for managing and relieving pain, but it is gaining popularity for the treatment of stress-related issues, mainly anxiety and depression. Conditions that acupuncture can help with:
- Lower back pain, neck pain
- Stress management.
- Pain in various body parts, like neck, knee, and head.
- Menstrual pain.
It is believed that acupuncture is effective for almost all diseases, symptoms, and disorders. Above is a list of some of those conditions. Whether it is mental health or any physical ailment, acupuncture can help in both.
Based on a person’s condition and the severity of symptoms, acupuncture points are identified in the body. After placing the points, needles that are very thin and metallic in nature are inserted.
The needle is further manipulated to provide stimulation at these points. They can be operated in two ways, either by hand, manually, or electrically, known as electroacupuncture.
Manual stimulation occurs by twirling, flicking, and moving the needle up and down along the skin. Electro-acupuncture makes an electric current flow through a needle to create nerve stimulation.
It is believed that the stimulating needles increase the activity of the body’s natural painkillers, which directly help in relieving pain.
When needles are inserted into the body, minimal pain is observed. But if the process is painful, it is probably because the needles are inserted at the wrong points in your body. That is why a licensed acupuncturist should be consulted for this process. The more skilled an acupuncturist is, the less painful the whole process will be.
That’s all about what acupuncture is and how it works for various diseases. In the next part of the article, let’s find out how effective acupuncture for anxiety is.
2. Things to Know About Anxiety
2.1. What Are Anxiety and Its Types?
The feeling of nervousness is a regular part of life, and everyone feels it at some point in their life. This feeling can be referred to as Anxiety. But anxiety has a lot of forms, and everyone has different symptoms according to it.
Symptoms of anxiety:
- Increased heart rate.
- Difficulty in focusing and concentrating.
- Hyperventilation or Heavy and rapid breathing.
- Sweating, trembling.
From adults to children, there is a point where everyone goes through this feeling, and it is not the best phase in their life. As anxiety is a chronic disease, it cannot be cured completely, but the symptoms can be assessed and controlled to the best of the ability. Recent studies have shown that acupuncture has helped patients suffering from anxiety a lot. No one wants to insert needles in their body even if the process is not painful. Still, the effectiveness of acupuncture can overturn your fear of needles for a soothing and relaxing acupuncture session.
2.2. Acupuncture for Anxiety
The main highlight of using acupuncture for anxiety is that there is no risk. Even if the process does not help you with your anxiety, you will have nothing to lose. There are no side effects when acupuncture for anxiety is used. As anxiety has many different forms, some of the major anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
- Social Phobia (Social anxiety disorder).
- Panic Disorder.
The different form of anxiety requires other treatments, and it is observed that acupuncture works well with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
2.3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder knows that there is no reason to worry, but they do the same: they cannot control their anxious thoughts and get lost in them for a long time.
Generalized anxiety disorder can last from one month to six months at an end, and if proper treatment or care is not provided, it can continue for a more extended period of time.
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
- Difficulty in concentrating and focusing.
- Tingling sensations in the body.
- Increase in a heartbeat.
- Overthinking plans and solutions.
- Difficulty in sleeping and insomnia.
Sometimes people suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder have no reason to get worried or anxious about anything, but they do, and it directly affects their day-to-day activities. Thinking that these worrying thoughts are every day and everyone has them is not right. Getting proper treatment for anxiety at the right time is very necessary for a healthy and fit life.
2.4. How Acupuncture for Anxiety Works?
Identifying the acupuncture points on the body of the patient suffering from anxiety is the first step. After which, the needles are inserted and do their magic by stimulating the nervous system. The body’s energy flow, which is disturbed and causes these anxiety disorders, is restored by using acupuncture. Treatment of acupuncture for anxiety can be taken until no to fewer symptoms are observed in the patient.
Acupuncture for anxiety is very beneficial. Some of the benefits are listed below.
3. Benefits of Acupuncture for Anxiety
3.1. No Side-Effects and Zero Risks
As acupuncture is a traditional process that uses the concept of treating diseases by stimulating the body’s nervous system, which has become dull over time or is not working properly, no side effects are observed.
Soreness at the site of needle insertion is seen, but it gradually goes away after a period of time.
Medicines used for anxiety disorders are very high in dosage and can create many adverse side effects on the body. Acupuncture for anxiety uses no such medications, and only a session is required with the acupuncturist depending upon the severity of the anxiety.
3.2. Safe and Secure
Acupuncture is not a hush-hush process; it is completely safe and secure. You could even ask your doctor, whom you are consulting for anxiety disorder whether you can try acupuncture or not. Acupuncture for anxiety can also be done while continuing your doctor’s prescription of medicine without fear of risks.
A licensed acupuncturist will always ask you if you are on any medication or not before starting the acupuncture session.
3.3. It Is Relaxing!
Whether you are suffering from anxiety, your everyday workload can take your stress level to a maximum. Acupuncture behaves like a stress-eliminating wand that releases the right hormones in the right quantity, making the person feel relaxed.
A person with anxiety disorder can benefit greatly from acupuncture as the underlying cause of anxiety disorders is stress.
The feeling of relaxation after an acupuncture session is what everyone wants to savour, and that is why acupuncture for anxiety is gaining immense popularity.
The above listed are some benefits that show that acupuncture can be used as an effective treatment process. While undergoing the acupuncture session, there are some things you may keep in mind for a better outcome of the session.
4. Things to Remember When Going for an Acupuncture Session:
- If you are consulting a doctor already, ask them if you can try acupuncture or not.
- Always look for a licensed acupuncturist. As mentioned before, the more skilled the acupuncturist, the less painful the whole acupuncture process will be.
- Talk with the acupuncturist about your condition. The acupuncturist should have full knowledge about your symptoms, medications, and what you expect by the end of the session. If you suffer from any allergies, they should know that! After this discussion, the acupuncturist will tell you about the acupuncture points on your body and how many sessions will be required.
- If you feel uncomfortable while undergoing the acupuncture process, make sure the acupuncturist is informed. This will rarely happen as acupuncture is a process to make you feel comfortable and relaxed, not the opposite!
- If you are on medications, do not reduce your dosage once you have started feeling better. Always consult your doctor first.
- It is your choice, and if you are having second thoughts about undergoing an acupuncture session, there is no need to get anxious over it. Acupuncture is not for everyone, as many people will find the idea of inserting needles into their bodies a significantly less appealing one.
Acupuncture has shown tremendous results in pain-related conditions like migraines and body aches, but treatment for anxiety or stress-related issues is also increasing day by day.
Until now, only positive feedback about the same is observed, making it a less conventional treatment for anxieties. If no other treatment works for concern, there is no harm in trying acupuncture for anxiety.
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6. Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How Quickly Does Acupuncture Work for Anxiety?
It balances the nervous system and eliminates the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Acupuncture has been reported to produce rapid results in people, often requiring only one or two sessions to be effective. However, as with any treatment, results and number of sessions vary from person to person.
Q2. Where Do Acupuncture Needles Go for Anxiety?
They must be inserted into pressure points, very specific places based on physical or mental symptoms. Areas of concern include the sternum, ears, eyebrows, and inner wrists. According to Chinese medicine, energy or “chi” flows through channels in the upper and lower body.
Q3. How Often Should You Do Acupuncture for Anxiety?
In general, we recommend acupuncture 1-2 times a week for anxiety problems. The duration of treatment depends on the chronicity of the anxiety, lifestyle factors, and whether exposure to stress and anxiety-causing stressors can be reduced.