Anxiety is tough. It varies in nature and is hard to pinpoint at times. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM ) and acupuncture have been used for a long time to help reduce anxiety. For some people this means they can go off or limit their medicines. For others it means reducing the amount of anxiety they feel on a day to day basis.
We at AcuNatural Health do not recommend stopping your anxiety medications. We do recommend seeing your GP and a psychologist. Our treatments for anxiety are to improve quality of life but are not a cure for anxiety.
We have treated all kinds of anxiety in our clinics, including:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Panic Disorder (panic attacks)
But first, what does anxiety mean in Chinese Medicine?
In TCM anxiety is a form of energy or qi imbalance in one or more organs, usually the kidneys and/or bladder. In TCM your organs each have their own association with emotions. For example, the liver ties to anger, the spleen to worry, the heart to fury, the lungs to grief and the kidneys to fear. An energy imbalance can lead to an imbalance of emotion as well as many other physical ill symptoms.
In TCM many factors contribute to energy imbalance and thus anxiety. Exposure to environmental toxins, negative lifestyle changes and excess stress can all lead to anxiety. The longer these symptoms persist the more chronic the condition becomes.
How AcuNatural Health can reduce anxiety
At AcuNatural Health we treat anxiety with a multi-layered approach. We work to reduce symptoms, everyday contributors and the root cause. Results differ but feedback tells us patients feel more relaxed after treatment and have improved sleep.
The main areas we will look into are：
We use acupuncture to help with imbalances that can be overwhelming your body. This can involve regulating qi and blood circulation around the body to soothe the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Massage therapy also assists in reducing stress as it helps with issues of pain or tension. Massage therapy decreases cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases your levels of oxytocin and serotonin which promote happiness.
During a massage your body will relax； calming your nervous system, lowering your heart rate and improving breathing. Deeper breathes will relax your muscles, lower your cortisol and improve blood circulation. This will improve sleep as the process teaches your body how to unwind at your choosing.
Acupuncture and TCM will help discover what type of sleeper you are and address this. For example, trouble falling asleep in TCM is a different imbalance then issues staying asleep or falling back asleep. Acupuncture will unblock your qi flow and help release excess emotions, making sleep easier and more effective for you.
In TCM your kidneys are strongly connected to anxiety. Your kidneys are also in charge of managing qi, yin energy and yang energy. Weak kidney function can resort in energy deficiencies, leading to anxiety and indecision.
Your adrenal glands are also associated with your kidneys in TCM. Your adrenal glands regulate your stress response and hormones. Adrenal fatigue means you have weak kidney function. Improving kidney function with acupuncture and TCM will steady these fluxes and restore your energy levels.
- Boost general health with herbals
This area surprises people with how it helps with anxiety. TCM can boost immunity， improve nutrient absorption and reduce allergies. All this will improve general health which can reduce anxiety.
TCM may include a general or gut detox, a heavy metal detox, herbal supplements or pulse reading. If the root cause is hormone imbalance then this therapy combined with acupuncture will make a huge difference to your anxiety.
We additionally offer dietary, exercise and lifestyle tips according to TCM theory to help reduce anxiety. This is not us telling you to eat better and do a specific workout routine. We cater our advice to your physical constitution and supply tips that will help with specific problems you are having. This can include specific breathing exercises, soaking your feet in hot water before bed or eating salads at room temperature.
For more examples of dietary advice we give see our article on foods to boost digestion.