The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is still impacting people worldwide and has grievous effects on physical and mental health – causing us to feel anxious, stressed, and worried. Anxiety can be mild to debilitating and may prevent affected people from pursuing work advancements, trying new experiences, and enjoying social situations.
During this challenging time of global crisis, you should manage two things simultaneously:
- Protect yourself from the Covid-19 by sticking to SOPs
- Protect yourself from anxiety
Medication (anxiolytic drugs), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or a combination of both is often used to treat anxiety. However, alternative treatment modalities, such as therapeutic massage and acupuncture, are increasingly being used by health professionals for treating anxiety and other mental health disorders. If your fear, worry, or anxiety has been overwhelming, you can put these therapies into practice. Doing so has been scientifically proven to help think clearly, subside troublesome symptoms, and make sure you can look after yourself and your closed ones.
Acupuncture is a subtype of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) that originated thousands of years ago. It is a traditional healing technique based on the concept that an imbalance in body energy (Qi) is the root cause of medical and mental health conditions.
Acupuncture treatment sessions involve small, sterile needles that are placed along with acupuncture points (specific areas of the body). These areas on the skin are thought to be the energy blockage points, and stimulating them can open up blocked channels and release the trapped energy to treat the underlying cause.
Clinical trials and studies examining acupuncture as an alternative treatment option for anxiety have shown some promising results. Acupuncturists have linked the stimulation of the following acupoints with reduced calm anxiety and increased mental alertness. Thes include;
- “Hundred Meetings” (Governing Vessel 20 (Du-20)
- “Shoulder Well” (Gall Bladder 21 (GB-21)
- “Hall of Impression” (Yin Tang)
- “Spirit Gate” (Heart 7 (Ht-7)
- “Chest Center” (Conception Vessel 17 (Ren 17)
Depending on your mental condition and the level of anxiety, acupuncture alone or as a combination therapy may be worth considering to reduce stress and anxiety.
Massage has been widely used in all corners of the world to reduce anxiety and evoke deep relaxation. The mood-enhancing and anxiety-reducing benefits of massage are related to increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, decreased cortisol levels, and changes in EEG activity.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a 45-60 minute massage can lower stress levels by up to 20% after just one session. In addition to its anxiety-reducing properties, therapeutic massage also helps induce calming effects and alleviate sleep disturbances. Experts recommend getting a massage with an open mind and not thinking about your source of stress or anxiety for optimal benefits.
Conventional treatment options and therapies for stress and anxiety, such as medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy, have been supported by research to treat anxiety. However, medications come with harmful side effects, and other therapies are not useful for some people. The use of alternative treatment options such as massage and acupuncture is one rise and can be a valuable addition to your standard treatment plan. Ideally, it would be best if you didn’t forget to consult your physician or psychiatrist before opting for these modes of treatment.