Anxiety is the body’s natural response to possible threats and causes rapid breathing, increased heart rate, digestive disturbances, and a burst of energy. However, if anxious feelings do not go away, anxiety can affect your ability to concentrate, be productive, sleep and carry out daily tasks.
1 in 4 Australians are affected by an anxiety disorder during their lives. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include emotional and physical symptoms which impair a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks. Emotional symptoms include feelings of worry, fear, bad dreams or nightmares, and overthinking. Physical symptoms can include fatigue, insomnia, muscle tension, increased levels of cortisol, and increased heart rate.
Anxiety may be caused by external events, overwork, long-term stress, unresolved emotional issues, or chronic pain or illness which can impact mental health. Anxiety is more common in women than in men, and hormonal imbalances can contribute to anxiety disorders.
The most common types of anxiety disorders are:
– Generalised anxiety disorder;
– Post-traumatic stress disorder;
– Social anxiety disorder;
– Panic disorder;
– Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Western medical treatment for anxiety includes antidepressants, anxiolytics, counselling or psychotherapy (Bystritsky, Khalsa, Cameron, Schifman, 2013). However, many medications take up to six weeks to be effective and one-third of patients have an inadequate response (Alonso et al 2018). Many patients seek out complementary medicines due to the side effects of long-term medication (Alonso et al, 2018).
How can Acupuncture help?
Acupuncture has been traditionally used in China and other East Asian countries to relieve stress and anxiety. In Chinese Medicine, psychogenic disorders are seen to be caused by an abnormal flow of qi and acupuncture points are chosen to calm the mind and restore the smooth flow of qi. Some studies show that acupuncture for anxiety causes biochemical changes such as reduced heart rate and an increase in endogenous opioids (Kawakita & Okada, 2014).
Research has shown that Acupuncture can help improve the symptoms of anxiety. Yang (2021) reviewed current clinical trials into the effectiveness of Acupuncture for anxiety disorders and found that acupuncture had a greater effect in reducing the symptoms of anxiety than control groups receiving Western medical treatment.
Six treatments of acupuncture were found to reduce symptoms of anxiety (Yang et al, 2021). This contrasts with western medical treatment which often requires long-term use. Seven studies have also found that treatment with Acupuncture had fewer side effects than treatment with western medication (Yang, 2021).
Anxiety can feel overwhelming, but Acupuncture can reduce symptoms. If you have any questions about how Acupuncture could reduce your feelings of anxiety, please call Jane at AcuNatural Health https://www.acunaturalhealth.com.au/about-jane-ma/.
Alonso J, Liu Z, Evans-Lacko S, Sadikova E, Sampson N, Chatterji S, et al. (2018). Treatment gap for anxiety disorders is global: Results of the World Mental Health Surveys in 21 countries. Depression Anxiety. 35:195–208.
Bystritsky A, Khalsa SS, Cameron ME, Schifman J. (2013). Current diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders. Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 38(1):30–57.
Kawakita, K & Okada, K. (2014). Acupuncture therapy: mechanism of action, efficacy and safety: a potential intervention for psychogenic disorders. Bio Psychologal
Sniezek, D.P. & Siddiqui, I.J. (2013). Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review. Medical Acupuncture Vol. 25, 3
Yang, X., Yang, N., Huang, F, Ren, S & Li, Z. (2021). Effectiveness of acupuncture on anxiety disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Annals of General Psychiatry. 20:9. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12991-021-00327-5