Acupuncture helps with anxiety
How To Get The Most Out Of Acupuncture For Your Anxiety
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With coronavirus cases continuing to make headlines, children and adults cohabitating 24/7 and the upcoming presidential election, a growing number of people are understandably anxious. While there are many ways to manage stress and anxiety, people are increasingly turning to acupuncture to calm frayed nerves.
"Acupuncture stimulates the body's natural feel-good hormones and reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol," says Mathew Kulas, MA, RAc, an acupuncturist at Henry Ford Health. Studies show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety, with fewer side effects than medications. Perhaps the best news: You don't have to rely on weekly in-person sessions to get the benefits.
Related Topic: What's The Difference Between Worry And Anxiety?
Homemade Acupuncture Strategies For Managing Anxiety
Acupuncture relies on stimulating specific points in the body, most often with needles, to improve health and well-being.
So how do you maintain those feel-good results in between sessions? "There are a number of things people can do at home to extend the benefits they achieve immediately after an acupuncture session," Kulas says. Here are six of his favorites:
- Pay attention to your diet: Diet plays a key role in maintaining the effects of acupuncture. Instead of leaving your session and noshing on pizza and beer, fuel up on a plant-based meal and drink plenty of water. Consider making an appointment with a plant-based nutritionist to help you learn how to incorporate more antioxidant- and nutrient-rich plants into your diet.
- Try ear seeds: An acupuncturist applies these small seeds to stimulate the pressure points in your ear and promote healthy energy flow in the body. Acupuncturists often use seeds when treating panic attacks or nicotine addiction. They can be helpful for issues like weight loss and pain management, too.
- Get moving: Movement is therapy. Techniques like yoga, tai chi and qigong can help you maintain balance in your body. You can find relevant videos on YouTube to walk you through a stress-reducing practice. It only takes a few minutes to stretch your whole body between tasks with a set of sun salutations or a simple child's pose. Or just lift your shoulders to your ears, hold, and release with a deep exhale.
- Breathe deeply: While many breathing exercises might help you relax, Kulas suggests keeping it simple. Try a four-breath cycle per minute to slow your breathing and reset your nervous system: Inhale for seven seconds, pause, then exhale for seven seconds.
- Self-massage: Self-massage can help alleviate mild to moderate pain in muscle and connective tissue. Acupressure is a form of massage that targets specific acupuncture points with pressure along with deep breathing. Self-acupressure can also treat psycho-emotional, gastrointestinal and neuropathic ailments. Ask your acupuncturist for customized acupressure point combinations for your specific health concerns.
- Maintain social connections: The pandemic has dramatically affected our ability to stay connected with friends and family. While you may need to maintain a safe physical distance between yourself and others, that doesn't mean your social connections need to take a hit. Do what you can to create feelings of connection with those living inside your own home. Try family yoga time, acupressure on each other or cooking a delicious plant-based meal.
Remaining calm right now may feel like a Herculean task. The key is to try to maintain some normalcy within the chaos.
"Often with anxiety, thoughts can become chaotic and there's a certain level of fear about the future," Kulas says. "Sometimes just knowing you're doing something productive — whether getting an acupuncture treatment, exercising or practicing self-massage — can help reduce worries about things that fall outside of your control."
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Learn more about acupuncture and other integrative medicine services at Henry Ford. To find a doctor or acupuncturist at Henry Ford, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).
If you are struggling with anxiety or depression and it's interfering with your life or ability to function, talk with your doctor or a behavioral health professional.
Mathew Kulas, RAc, is a licensed acupuncturist and sees patients at Henry Ford Medical Centers located in Northville and Grosse Pointe Farms.
Tags: Acupuncture, Mathew Kulas, Integrative Medicine
Benefits, Side Effects, and What to Expect
More than 40 million U.S. adults have symptoms of anxiety, which refers to excessive worrying that’s hard to control and often impacts daily life. It’s often treated with psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both.
Acupuncture, an ancient practice that involves inserting needles into pressure points on your body, is becoming a popular alternative treatment for anxiety. There’s some scientific evidence that acupuncture helps with certain symptoms of anxiety. However, researchers are still trying to determine the effect of acupuncture on specific types of anxiety, such as panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Keep reading to learn more about what we do — and don’t yet— know about using acupuncture to treat anxiety.
There have been several studies done about the effects of acupuncture on anxiety. These studies have focused mostly on generalized anxiety disorder and suggest that acupuncture is helpful in treating general anxiety.
One promising study from 2015, for example, found that acupuncture improved symptoms in people with anxiety that didn’t respond to other treatments, including psychotherapy and medication. Participants received ten 30-minute sessions of acupuncture over the course of 12 weeks. They experienced a significant reduction in their anxiety, even 10 weeks after treatment.
However, two reviews of existing research, one from 2007 and another from 2013, note that many studies on the subject aren’t very reliable. Some had very few participants — including the one mentioned above — while others were poorly designed. On the other hand, these reviews also point out that acupuncture doesn’t seem to have a negative effect on anxiety.
In a more recent 2016 study on rats, acupuncture was found to be effective for reducing anxiety. The researchers suggested that it impacts how the body triggers the fight-or-flight response.
While we need to better understand how acupuncture affects anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias, research is showing promise for acupuncture as a viable and safe option. If you have anxiety that hasn’t responded to other treatment methods, or you’re simply interested in trying something new, acupuncture shouldn’t worsen your symptoms.
While acupuncture won’t make your anxiety worse, it does come with some possible side effects and risks. You can avoid most of these by making sure you see a licensed acupuncturist. In the United States, license requirements vary from state to state, but most require taking an exam from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
The main side effect that people experience with acupuncture is soreness following a session. This usually goes away within a few hours, though it can also leave some bruising. Some people also feel pinpricks of pain during a session.
Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles. You could get an infection if your practitioner didn’t use properly sterilized needles. The Mayo Clinic notes that these complications are very uncommon if you see an experienced, certified acupuncturist.
People with some health conditions shouldn’t have acupuncture. You should avoid acupuncture if you:
- have a pacemaker
- have a bleeding condition, such as hemophilia
It’s also important to keep up with any ongoing anxiety treatment, including prescribed medications, while getting acupuncture. You shouldn’t stop any medications without first discussing with your doctor.
When you go in for your first appointment, your acupuncturist will start by asking you which symptoms you’re looking to treat. They’ll also ask about any medications you take, your medical history, and any other health concerns you have. This is a good time to ask any lingering questions you have about the process.
During your actual session, they’ll insert long, thin needles into different pressure points on your body. Depending on the pressure points used, this could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Your acupuncturist might also twist the needles or apply an electrical pulse to them. They’ll leave the needles in for up to 20 minutes before carefully removing them.
You likely won’t feel instant gratification. Most acupuncture treatments are intended to be repeated. Some people report immediate improvements but most notice subtle and gradual changes with repeated visits.
Before you go, make sure you understand the costs involved. Some health insurance plans cover acupuncture for medical or mental health conditions, including anxiety, but others don’t.
Acupuncture may be an effective low-risk treatment option for anxiety. More research is being done but there is promise and it shouldn’t make your symptoms worse.
Make sure you find a properly trained licensed acupuncturist in your state — they’ll be registered with the state health board. It’s also important to keep up with your other anxiety treatments, such as therapy or medication. You may also want to use other alternative treatments, including relaxation, exercises, and meditation to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
Acupuncture for the treatment of neurosis and depression
With neurotic disorders, Western medicine operates with pills - tranquilizers, antidepressants. But these are symptomatic remedies, but the problem can be eliminated in essence.
Tibetan doctors consider neuroses, depression, and other disorders of the nervous system and psyche to be the result of an imbalance in the regulating basis Wind (Rlung). And if the cause is known, then there are ways to eliminate it.
The usual cause of nervous disorders is the energy depletion of the body. This is due, firstly, to the innate characteristics of metabolism.
Most often, people of the constitutional type Wind suffer from neuroses and depression - impressionable, emotional, restless, mobile. They are not at all prone to excess weight, they are lean, tall or, on the contrary, miniature.
The metabolism of such people is very fast, so the energy does not have time to spend rationally and most of it is wasted - on emotional outbursts, violent and fruitless impulses, insomnia, constant anxiety.
The result is an exhaustion of the nervous system, or the basis of Wind. This base is of a cold nature, so its depletion is often accompanied by coldness of the hands, feet, and a sensation of chilliness.
No pills can restore the energy balance. Only proper nutrition, herbal medicine can increase the level of heat. For these methods to work optimally, it is necessary that the energy move freely in the body along the meridians.
But with neurosis of anxiety, fear or other disorders of the nervous system in the body, as a rule, there are muscle spasms, blood circulation is disturbed. If the normal circulation of energy is not restored, it is almost impossible to increase the level of body heat.
And then acupuncture comes to the rescue. With the help of acupuncture, the Tibet clinic doctor restores the normal movement of energy along the meridians of the body and puts the energy balance of the body in order.
Thus, acupuncture eliminates the cause of nervous disorders - energy depletion. No pills can help with this, but acupuncture sessions help.
The success of acupuncture in the treatment of neuroses, depression and other nervous diseases is so obvious that modern medicine tries to explain them scientifically. Her explanation consists of three points.
1. Acupuncture somehow stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin.
Indeed, the introduction of needles into bioactive points according to certain patterns stimulates the production of the "hormone of pleasure" - dopamine and the "hormone of happiness" - serotonin.
Serotonin is a hormone that is produced when exposed to sunlight. The lack of sun in the northern climate is one of the main causes of depression and suicidality.
An example is Finland. This country has one of the highest living standards, but also one of the highest suicide rates. The reason is the shortage of the sun, a small number of sunny days, that is, a purely climatic, and not an economic factor.
Russia is also among the country-record holders in the number of suicides, and the climate factor plays a significant role in this.
Acupuncture increases the production of serotonin and thus serves as a cure for depression. As for dopamine, it is not only a “hormone of pleasure”, but also a neurotransmitter.
The conductivity of the "white channels" - the nerves - depends on its concentration. The easier and faster the signals pass through the nerves, the lower the energy costs. Therefore, by facilitating the innervation of the body, acupuncture improves its energy.
2. Acupuncture somehow stimulates the production of endorphins.
Pain-relieving substances that are produced by our brain are similar in their action to morphine. They not only anesthetize, but also improve mood and therefore help with neurosis and depression no worse, but better than antidepressants.
3. Acupuncture relieves muscle spasms and pain.
The introduction of needles into bioactive points relieves muscle tension. Thanks to this, canned nervous stresses are released, mental, nervous tension is relieved.
Acupressure massage also gives a similar effect in the Tibet clinic, during sessions of which patients sometimes begin to cry because the drunken mental load is released and comes out. These are tears and the joy of relief.
Acupuncture in this sense gives less effect than acupressure, but it has an analgesic effect in pain syndromes, which serve as a factor in the development of neurosis, depression, and insomnia.
In general, according to the experience of the doctors of the Tibet clinic, acupuncture is a powerful tool for treating neurosis, depression and other nervous disorders.
In terms of its effectiveness, this method is significantly superior to medications, especially in the long term. After all, acupuncture eliminates not only the symptoms and mechanisms of development of nervous disorders. With its help, it is possible to eliminate the causes of imbalance in the Wind base, which is responsible for the psyche, brain function and nervous system.
With the help of acupuncture, the doctor of the Tibet clinic regulates the energy balance of the body, eliminating the cause of the depletion of the nervous system. At the same time, it acts simultaneously on the signs and causes of a neurotic disorder.
benefits, side effects and what to expect
contents to everyday life. It is often treated with psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both.
Acupuncture, an ancient practice of inserting needles into painful points on the body, is becoming a popular alternative treatment for anxiety. There is some scientific evidence that acupuncture helps with certain anxiety symptoms. However, researchers are still trying to determine the effect of acupuncture on certain types of anxiety, such as panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Continue reading to learn more about what we do, and yet you know about the use of acupuncture to treat anxiety.
Several studies have been done on the effects of acupuncture on anxiety. These studies have mainly focused on generalized anxiety disorder and suggest that acupuncture is useful in treating generalized anxiety.
One promising 2015 study, for example, found that acupuncture improved symptoms in people with anxiety who had not responded to other treatments, including psychotherapy and medication. Participants received ten 30-minute acupuncture sessions over 12 weeks. They experienced a significant reduction in anxiety even 10 weeks after treatment.
However, two reviews of existing studies, one from 2007 and one from 2013, state that many of the studies on this topic are not very reliable. Some had very few participants, including the one mentioned above, while others were poorly designed. On the other hand, these reviews also indicate that acupuncture has no negative effect on anxiety.
A recent 2016 rat study found that acupuncture was effective in reducing anxiety. The researchers suggest that this affects how the body activates the fight-or-flight response.
While we need to better understand how acupuncture affects anxiety, panic attacks and phobias, research shows that acupuncture is a sustainable and safe option. If you have anxiety that doesn't respond to other treatments, or you're just interested in trying something new, acupuncture shouldn't make your symptoms worse.
Are there any risks?
While acupuncture won't make your anxiety worse, it does come with some possible side effects and risks. You can avoid most of these things by making sure you have a licensed acupuncturist. In the United States, licensing requirements vary from state to state, but in most cases, National Certification Board exams in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are required.
The main side effect that people experience with acupuncture is pain after the session. It usually disappears within a few hours, but it can also leave bruises. Some also feel pain during the session.
Licensed acupuncturists must use sterile disposable needles. You can become infected if your doctor does not use properly sterilized needles. The Mayo Clinic notes that these complications are very rare when you go to an experienced certified acupuncturist.
Acupuncture is contraindicated for people with certain medical conditions. Avoid acupuncture if:
- have a pacemaker
- have bleeding such as hemophilia
It is also important to follow up on any current anxiety treatment, including prescribed medications, while receiving acupuncture. You should not stop taking any medication without first discussing it with your doctor.
When you go to your first appointment, your acupuncturist will ask you what symptoms you would like to treat. They will also ask you about any medications you are taking, your medical history, and any other health concerns. This is a good time to ask any persistent questions about the procedure.
During your session, they will insert long, thin needles at various points on your body. Depending on the pressures used, this may take 10 to 30 minutes. Your acupuncturist can also twist the needles or give them an electrical impulse. The needles are left inside for 20 minutes and then carefully removed.