Literature Search And Selection
Two authors searched relevant literature from electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials , Embase, and the Chinese databases WanFang data, VIP Chinese Sci tech periodical database, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure . The studies were restricted to peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2000 and August 2019. The date last searched was March 31, 2020. Searches were limited to those performed on human subjects and those written in English or Chinese. The keyword acupuncture* was used in combination with anxiety or anxiety disorder or general anxiety disorder or panic disorder or phobias or social anxiety disorder or separation anxiety disorder and randomi*ed controlled trial or controlled clinical trial. The full PubMed search strategy is available in Additional file : Table S1.
We screened all relevant literature according to the inclusive and exclusive criteria. Study inclusion criteria were as follows: randomised controlled trials comparing acupuncture with a control condition use of standard diagnostic criteria to define anxiety disorder both male and female adult subjects . Reduction of anxiety measured by accepted scales was the main outcome of interest. Studies that did not report specific anxiety scores were excluded.
How Many Treatments Are Needed
In shortit varies! The answer to this question is entirely subjective, and it will depend on a range of factors including who is being treated, and what they are being treated for. Acupuncture is often used to alleviate acute pain, and it could be effective with only a few sessions. On the other hand, it is often used to treat chronic pain, and in many such cases it is used on a monthly, fortnightly, or even weekly basis for many months. Acupuncturists are trained to develop treatment plans that address your specific needs.
When it comes to stress, depression, and anxiety, its unlikely that youll experience a complete improvement overnight. Youll need to commit to a treatment plan for a certain period until the causes of your complaints can be identified and addressed. If your mental health issues are primarily related to chronic pain, youll probably be happier when youre feeling less pain. But if your issues relate to acute stressmaybe in the context of workplace pressurethen you might find more sudden relief from acupuncture.
Acupuncture For Stress Anxiety And Depression
According to the theory of acupuncture, the free flow of body energy is seen as essential for good health. Prolonged exposure to extreme or intense situations, be they physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, can cause disruptions in this flow. These disturbances ripple through the whole system, sometimes causing symptoms in distant parts of the body. We all have our weak points and they differ between individuals. For one person it might be sleep, for another, skin or the digestive system.
During your initial consultation your acupuncturist will take time to ask you a range of questions about your physical and mental health. An acupuncturists skill lies in making sense of seemingly unconnected symptoms, then using acupuncture to promote the flow of Qi in such as way as help the body to find its own balance.
Your acupuncturist will give you feedback about how acupuncture might help and what kind of changes to look out for after treatment.
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Can Acupuncture Work With Western Medicine
Holistic treatment isnt limited to Chinese medicine. In fact, a lot of Western medical practitioners have come to appreciate the importance of treating all aspects of the body in a multidisciplinary setting. As a result of that transition, acupuncture and Western medicine work exceptionally well together, and its not uncommon for general practitioners to refer their patients for acupuncture treatment.
If youre already receiving multidisciplinary treatment for your stress, anxiety, or depression, its important that you inform your treating practitioners of your acupuncture sessions. That will allow everyone involved in your care to assess any positive changes to your mental wellbeing, and respond accordingly. If youre taking antidepressant medication, then you should also let your acupuncturist know. Performing acupuncture is about striking a perfect balanceyou need to know which factors are affecting the body at any given time. So, if there is medication affecting your bodys physiological responses, your acupuncturist may need to make some adjustments to your treatment.
Are There Acupuncturists Who Specialise In Anxiety
Like most therapies, there are acupuncturists with specialties in a wide range of physical and mental ailments. However, most focus on holistic treatment and try not to confine themselves to any one area. After all, the key principle of acupuncture is to treat the body as a whole, rather than to focus on any single problem. That doesnt mean you wont be able to form a solid therapeutic partnership with an acupuncturist in relation to your anxiety.
The key is to find a qualified and accredited acupuncturist with whom you feel comfortable. That will allow you to discuss your issues candidly and frankly, so that your treating practitioner gains a complete picture of your condition. Your acupuncturist will ask you a wide range of detailed questions, as well, so you should prepare yourself to answer a number of personal questions relating to your health . By getting to the bottom of your physical health, your acupuncturist can work towards addressing possible sources of your stress, anxiety, or depression.
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Acupuncture For Anxiety Pdf
You can download a PDF version of this summary here:
According to the most up to date evidence, acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety. In 2017, The Acupuncture Evidence Project, co-authored by Dr John McDonald, PhD and Dr Stephen Janz,4 was published, providing an up-to-date comparative review of the clinical and scientific evidence for acupuncture. This comprehensive document, updating two previous reviews, determined that acupuncture is moderately effective in treating anxiety according to high level evidence.5 Their evidence included a 2016 systematic review with over 400 randomised patients that concluded that the effects from acupuncture for treating anxiety have been shown to be significant as compared to conventional treatments.6 The largest of these studies, which included 120 randomized patients, found that acupuncture had a large effect on reducing anxiety and depression compared to conventional treatment involving pharmacological approaches and psychotherapy, with over twice the reduction in symptoms.7
A more recent systematic review published in 2018 found that all 13 included studies reported an anxiety decrease for their treatment group relative to the control groups. Three of these studies used pharmaceuticals as controls.8
What Can You Expect During An Acupuncture For Anxiety Session
Every acupuncturist has their own style and way of treating patients. The key is to find a licensed practitioner who you feel comfortable with. The treatment, in and of itself, is going to be very different from person to person as well, because the underlying issues of the anxiety vary.
Your first acupuncture session will likely kick off with a consultation, Williams says, where you’ll be asked lots of questions to get a good picture of whatâs going on in your body digestion, energy levels, and sleep quality are brought up.
Williams then has the patient lie down on a massage table, and sheâll do Chinese medicine diagnostics to access which acupuncture points are needed to correct imbalances in different organs. This includes checking the pulse and taking a look at the tongue. “Each organ has its own position on the pulse,” she explains. And similarly, the tongue is split up into different organs. In Japanese-style acupuncture, which is what she practices, the treatment includes both a front and back treatment. “The front treatment is a bit shorter because itâs all about balancing the channels,” Williams says. The needles are usually in for five to seven minutes during this part.
Then sheâll do the needling on the back, which is “more about treating on a deeper level and nourishing all the symptoms of the body,” she says. “This is also where we can treat both physical symptoms and emotional symptoms.â This part lasts for about 15 to 20 minutes.
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How Does Acupuncture Work According To Tcm
In TCM, your qi is the flow of energy through your body. Qi streams through your body on energy channels known as meridians.
Its believed that if your energy becomes blocked or stopped up, it may result in illness. This could present with physical symptoms, such as an aching back, or emotional symptoms, such as stress and anxiety.
Acupuncture is believed to help remove blockages and restore energy flow, balancing your organs, mind, and body.
Endorphins are your bodys natural painkillers. An increase in these hormones could provide a natural boost to your body and brain.
Stress: A Fine Line Between Motivation And Overload
Stress is a normal part of human-ing. Our innate stress responses like increased heart rate and blood pressure, mental acuity, and heightened focus help us respond in emergencies and deliver results quickly in a time of high demand.Stress can make us feel alive and engaged, essential, and accomplished in small doses. However, when stress is a constant companion, the stress chemicals our bodies release can cause harm over time.
Common effects of chronic stress could include the following. Can you spot any of your mental or physical symptoms in the list below?
- Upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, heartburn, or other gut issues
- Rapid heart rate or chest pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of sexual desire or reduced sexual function
- More colds or seasonal illness than usual
- Clenched jaw or teeth grinding
- Sore, tense muscles, especially in the neck and shoulders
- Constant worry
- Always seeing the worst case scenario
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling frazzled and unfocused
- Disorganization and forgetfulness
When stress is chronic, your risk increases for depression and anxiety, heart attack and heart disease, obesity, and eating disorders, and more severe gut problems like GERD, colitis, and IBS.
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How Can Acupuncture Address Issues With Anxiety And Depression
TCM practitioners believe that physical health issues are connected to a persons emotional state . Practitioners of TCM view emotions as an integrated aspect of organ functions, and sometimes the root cause of disease. TCM classifies emotions into seven categories, with each emotion corresponding to a particular organ. For example, the lungs are commonly linked to grief and the ability to let go. The seven emotions are anger, joy, fear, worry, grief, fright, and sadness.
One TCM theory on anxiety is that a person can have excessive energy, also referred to as heat or energy , in the head. Symptoms of anxiety akin to this idea include insomnia, racing thoughts, and excessive worry. In such a case, the treatment would consist of inserting needles into various points on the body, such as the fingers, hands, wrists, ankles, and feet, in an effort to redistribute the patients energy, in order to improve sleep and reduce worry.
Depression, on the other hand, can be described as stagnant energy within the body. This stagnation can create imbalances that lead to symptoms of depression, such as an inability to focus, melancholy, anger, fatigue, and a lack of inspiration. Acupuncture addresses the issue by enabling the energy to move more efficiently, balancing the organ systems and creating homeostasis. The idea is that creating balanced energy better equips a person to manage stress and steady emotions, and enables a more peaceful feeling.
How Soon Will You Feel Results
According to Williams, the key to seeing success through acupuncture for anxiety is consistency in treatment. She says that many people feel much calmer after each session, but in order to see long-lasting results, it’s best to get treatments regularlyâthe exact frequency varies from person to personâfor an extended period of time. People with deep-rooted trauma or chronic anxiety may benefit from attending acupuncture sessions for longer than someone who has acute anxiety.
In the beginning, Williams recommends you keep your treatments closer togetherâonce or twice a weekâbecause youâre essentially retraining your body to operate in a new way and if you space your treatments out too much, you can easily slip back into the fight-or-flight way of being. Once you do start feeling the zen results, you can scale back on the number of sessions to once a week, then once a month, and so on.
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Impact Of Chronic Stress On Hrv
Over the years, doctors and psychologists have correlated low HRV with higher incidences of heart disease, high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and depression.
Conversely, healthy HRV ranges are associated with: even emotions, reduced stress, better adaptation to stress situations, better performance, better functioning in day-to-day life.
Can Acupuncture Treatment Help Anxiety Ptsd And Stress
People commonly report feeling calm and relaxed during and after acupuncture treatment. Research has shown that acupuncture significantly benefits anxiety disorders , stress and anxiety symptoms. In addition, the effects of acupuncture for anxiety and stress have been shown to be long lasting and without the same side effects experienced from taking medication. Having access to another treatment option that has been shown to work can give patients hope when dealing with chronic anxiety that hasnt responded to conventional treatment. If you have recently been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or experience symptoms of anxiety or stress and are taking medication or receiving therapy, acupuncture might help boost the benefit of these treatments while reducing unwanted side effects. If you have been dealing with chronic anxiety that hasnt improved significantly with standard treatment, acupuncture is a promising treatment option for you.
Acupuncture has also been shown to be as effective as cognitive behaviour therapy and more effective than no treatment even 3 months after stopping the acupuncture treatment. Electro-acupuncture has been shown to be more effective than medication for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In the case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, some patients have difficulty discussing their condition. Unlike talking therapy, you are not required to discuss any traumatic event or cause of your anxiety when receiving treatment.
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Acupressure To Support You At Home
There are acupressure points on the body that you can activate from home to which are known to aid calming the heart and ease anxiety. This video explains two of the points Heart 7 and Pericardium 6. During the video, we describe how you can find the points and the techniques to activate them as well as some additional information about the points.
Princeton Acupuncture And Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!
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