Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health issue in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an estimated 40 million individuals in the United States would develop an anxiety condition over their lifetime.
You’d think that getting a lot of needles pushed into your skin would be the last thing on your mind when you’re anxious about everything from your workload to politics to why your trousers are suddenly so tight. Acupuncture, on the other hand, has both anecdotal and scientific data to support its effectiveness.
This Chinese method has been used to treat a variety of physical and mental ailments for thousands of years, and contemporary medicine has begun to accept the possibility that anxiety is one of them. Here’s what we know (so far) about using acupuncture to treat anxiety symptoms, as well as what to expect if you give it a go.
While 19 percent of the population is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder each year, many more people suffer from a lesser form of worry and/or stress on a regular basis. Although this form of worry or stress may not meet the professional criteria of mental illness, it can nonetheless have a negative impact on one’s quality of life.
Anxiety is a common and natural emotion to a variety of events and situations that we may experience. Anxiety, for example, is part of our body’s fight or flight reaction, which is a protective mechanism when we are confronted with a threat. Even “positive” events, such as a wedding or a child’s birth, can trigger worry or tension. Anxiety that is proportional to the severity of the problem, dissipates after the situation is remedied, and is a response to a genuine, not merely imagined, the scenario is not always a problem that requires treatment. Getting therapy for any sort of anxiety, on the other hand, can enhance one’s quality of life and capacity to manage stress more successfully.
This is why seeking help is critical when anxiety or stress occurs in the absence of an identifiable event or in response to an imagined problem, appears out of proportion to the actual situation, does not go away once the situation has been resolved, or interferes with one’s ability to work or perform daily functions.
Acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States over the last 40 years, becoming one of the most frequent alternative medicine treatments. According to a study published in the journal Psychosomatics, roughly a third of persons with anxiety problems utilize alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, or relaxation techniques.
Acupuncture is a kind of traditional Chinese medicine that entails the insertion of sterile, extremely thin needles into the skin at certain pressure points. This regulates the flow of energy, also known as chi or qi, via the body’s channels or meridians. The energy flow is rebalanced by inserting needles at certain spots along these routes.
Some people are turned off by the concept of needles being pushed into their skin; however, it is done with a gentle touch and you should barely feel it — the needles aren’t implanted deep enough in the skin to cause a person to bleed. Acupuncture needles are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as medical devices that should only be used by board-certified, trained practitioners.
Acupuncture as a Possible Treatment For Anxiety
We live in a society where stress has unfortunately become the norm. Every day presents a new set of obstacles, from meeting work deadlines to keeping your family pleased. While it’s fine to feel anxious once in a while, if it turns into constant anxiety over everyday happenings, you may be dealing with more than simply stress.
- Don’t be Wary of the Needles: We utilize extremely thin needles placed just beneath the skin to stimulate our body’s acupressure points and meridians and increase the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), or vital energy, in our systems to restore the body’s stress homeostasis. Your practitioner will decide the optimum areas to implant the needles on your body after a thorough examination. Your acupuncturist will place needles with a soft touch at each spot as you lie down on a cushioned table. The needles are so little that you won’t even notice them. One of them may be “strong” or feel like a mosquito bite.
- The Good Thing – No Side Effects: You won’t have to worry about the adverse effects that many medications have because acupuncture is a drug-free therapy approach. You may also be confident that your existing drugs will not cause any negative drug interactions. Your acupuncturist will suggest a treatment schedule that will help you reach your stress-reduction goals.
- The Self-Care You Need: The treatment itself soothes and relaxes you, in addition to the therapeutic properties of the needles. You’ll relax for around 30 minutes after inserting the needles and wait for the therapy to take effect. You can listen to quiet music, relax your eyes, or perhaps fall asleep softly at this time.
- Acupuncture Uses Body’s Internal Mechanisms: When fine needles stimulate nerves beneath the skin, the nerve sends a message to the brain, instructing it to produce endorphins, our natural painkillers. We relax and feel euphoric or pleased when we are exposed to these natural brain chemicals. Acupuncture also aids in the natural reduction of inflammation and discomfort, both of which can be exacerbated by persistent stress.
Upon research over the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture, it is discovered to have tremendous promise in the treatment of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and insomnia. Its remarkable therapeutic treatment result has piqued physicians’ interest in recent years. It is a safe and effective treatment that can work in conjunction with other mental health treatments. Outpatient clients at Balance Within Acupuncture Wellness Clinic can benefit not just from the supplemental support that acupuncture gives to therapy, but also from a variety of other supportive treatments. To schedule a session, contact us today.