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How Acupuncture Can Help With Anxiety Management

Author and Trusted NTP practitioner

Helen Efstathiou

Elements of Life

Specialising in complementary therapies for health and wellness, Helen has a passion for unlocking people's potential.
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Aug 24, 2021

How Acupuncture Can Help With Anxiety Management

Over a couple of years, acupuncture is used in many hospitals, and the fallouts have been overwhelming. It is an alternative medicine made up of fine, sterile needles inserted at specific points in the skin. Acupuncture treatments follow the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which include balancing the flow of energy, or the Qi, to prevent disease. Improved energy flow produced by acupuncture is well known to stimulate the body's natural healing ability. Anxiety, on the other hand, is the excessive and intense worry and fear of everyday situations. Anxiety makes one feel tense, nervous, and unable to relax, fear the worst, and have a sense of dismay.

Anxiety can have many effects on people and pose risks to their physical, emotional and mental health, and thus, a necessary medication is sorted, and acupuncture wins in this (Allan, Peckham, and Liu et al., 2018). Acupuncture is said to help in the treatment of anxiety disorder because the biochemical that acupuncture points release takes part in stimulating the body's natural healing ability and promoting a person's emotional and physical wellbeing. Therefore, acupuncture can be used in the treatment and management of anxiety, and thus, patients should opt for it as it is a safe and viable option. 

Acupuncture for Stress & Anxiety

To begin with, acupuncture stimulates the natural agent of the hormones known as feel-good hormones, which are significant in the brain's reward system as they are associated with pleasant ambiences, motor coordination functions, memory, and learning. The feel-good hormones serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine promote positive happiness, pleasure, and love. Some people would ask, "Are feel-good hormones important in health, and is there any need for their regulation?". The truth is that happy hormones are very important in the general functioning of the body and therefore, their regulation is even more significant in reducing stress and worries. 

According to Jia, Han, and Zhang et al. (2020), regulation of feel-good hormones is important in that anxiety symptoms would be caused by bad moods which are elevated by the happy hormones. Therefore, acupuncture's role in regulating the body's feel-good hormones is essential in managing anxiety 

In addition, acupuncture has been associated with reducing stress hormones and regulating HPA activity by improving the enactment of adrenocorticotropic hormone and monitoring cortisol excretion. Acupuncture decreases the activation of stress and stress response indicators, hence improving a patient's experience with anxiety (Tu, Jiang, and Lia et al., 2020). The points of acupuncture reduce stress and reverse the effects of stress in patients thus managing anxiety.

Insomnia is common in people with fear, and acupuncture has been discovered to control cortisol levels that increase pressure. It is said that acupuncture cannot obliterate stress. However, it works best in maintaining and changing how a body responds to stress by stimulating the production of cortisol.

Acupuncture for Health Conditions Hinged on Stress & Anxiety

In addition to managing anxiety by alleviating the symptoms of a depressive disorder that comes with it, an acupuncture session can lead to the treatment of a wide range of medical conditions as well, as it addresses the root cause of the problem known as stress. Chronic stress can cause brain damage, insomnia, neck pain, social isolation, chronic pain and tension headaches, bowel problems, and poor quality of life. All these problems can be dealt with if acupuncture is initiated. 

Moreover, the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating other health issues deeply rooted in physical or emotional stress is well documented. As well as dental pain and high blood pressure, the benefits of acupuncture for low-back pain, hot flashes and other physical symptoms that pregnant women go through have been widely recorded.  

Acupuncture is very effective in balancing the nervous system and hence, all symptoms associated with anxiety. A question that may arise is whether anxiety can lead to back pains. It is important to note that fear causes inactivity, muscle tension, and changes in posture, and all these can lead to back pains. For Yuan and Wang (2019), opting for over-the-counter medicines to deal with the pain is long term, and hence, people need to stop the pain, which is the point where acupuncture gets its way in the management of anxiety, hence back pains.

Another question that people with back pains ask is, "Can acupuncture effectively help in reducing back pain, and is it safe?" The answer to this is that acupuncture is the most effective treatment for reducing back pains. Besides being a successful form of treatment for chronic back pains, which are symptoms of anxiety, the risks of acupuncture are slim to none.

Finally, the ANS is answerable in the flight, fight, restoration, and rest of the body and consists of two branches that need to balance their functions of eliminating anxiety. Acupuncture helps manage stress by regulating the nervous system by bringing the branches of the autonomic nervous system back into balance (Almond and Gloria et al., 2019). Life is good when the two components of ANS, the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, work in harmony as when they are not in balance, they trigger anxiety. Acupuncture is used to regulate these two branches, thus reducing the probability of becoming anxious and suffering from symptoms and problems associated with anxiety.

To conclude, anxiety has posed many health risks such as chronic pains, life problems like isolation, behavioural problems like irritability, cognitive problems to people, and a need to control or eliminate it. Therefore, a need to manage anxiety to elude all these problems, and with acupuncture, there have been promising results.

It has been discovered that acupuncture helps manage anxiety by lessening the symptoms of despair and anxiety, stimulating the body's natural feel-good hormones that are significant in the brain's recompense system, and reducing the level of stress hormones. With the central function of acupuncture stimulating the body's natural curative capabilities and promoting bodily and emotional wellbeing, people with anxiety need to seek this medication action for better results.

FAQs About Acupuncture & Anxiety

How often should you do acupuncture for anxiety?

Most likely, you will be advised to schedule one to two sessions a week for the first two to four weeks. The practitioner will then ask you if you wish to continue working at this pace or if you wish to move to a once-weekly schedule based on your progress. Once your anxiety disorder has been resolved, you may decide to stop your treatment.

How do I know acupuncture is working?

As you begin acupuncture, you will be more aware of your body, how it works and even personal sensations that you wouldn't notice before. As you awaken your senses, you will become more attuned to your health and the world around you.

What should you do after an acupuncture session?

The effects of acupuncture can be maximized if you avoid processed foods, fried foods and sugar after treatment. For better recovery following an acupuncture session, choose foods that have healing properties like fruits and vegetables. Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol so as not to dehydrate your body.

Related Topics

From the NTP Practitioners,  Anxiety,  Acupuncture,  Traditional Chinese Medicine,  Stress,  Insomnia,  Back Pain

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