Does acupuncture work for anxiety?
1 in 4 people in England will experience a type of mental health problem each year. Out of all mental health disorders, people with anxiety are six times more likely to be hospitalised for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety. Anxiety can start from a range of complex factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
So why does acupuncture for anxiety work?
There is scientific evidence that acupuncture for anxiety helps reduce the symptoms of the disorder and panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to the severity of the problem, ear acupuncture can be an effective and quick method of addressing brain biochemistry and enhancing well-being. In addition, auricular acupuncture can be offered independently for immediate and prolonged results.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture first arose in China around 3000 years ago. It is an ancient practice originally described as an organised system of diagnosis and treatment. The first physical documentation of acupuncture was found in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, written in 100 BCE. It is now used worldwide as a source of official health care system acknowledged and recommended by WHO and NHS for many different health concerns.
Ear Acupuncture is a micro-acupuncture technique similar to acupuncture and was first introduced in the west in 1950 by Dr Paul Nogier, a pioneer of modern ear acupuncture. The method was practised in China, ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and throughout the Mediterranean world. Nogier’s theory uses the ear to determine whether the brain functions as a dynamic whole and explores specific imbalances within the body. The technique effectiveness includes various biological mechanisms, including certain groups of cells and networks that affect the whole body.
How does it work?
Acupuncture, especially electroacupuncture (EA) for anxiety, works by inserting needles into your body’s pressure points and stimulating them with a gentle electric current. Originally, acupuncture was said to restore good energy flow and remove negative energy that is causing you pain or discomfort. This energy or life force is called Qi.
The most modern and scientific explanation of acupuncture for anxiety working is that it stimulates various body systems, triggering a healing response.
When the needles enter specific acupuncture points in your skin, they activate the brain (norepinephrine metabolism as suggested in human and animal studies). The body releases pain-relieving endorphins such as beta-endorphins which are beneficial if you are stressed or anxious, having long term benefits.
Research into effects on anxiety after acupuncture
In a study published in 2013 in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, a group of students had a 20- minute acupuncture session. The trial suggested that the participants had less anxiety and better memory immediately afterwards than those who didn’t have acupuncture. The treatment resulted in a more relaxed and positive mental attitude.
Although the research into acupuncture for anxiety is limited, many different factors could affect the participant’s emotions (like genetics, situational events and lifestyle and placebo effect). Nevertheless, the treatment for anxiety and stress has been found very effective in clinical practice and has been used effectively throughout history. It is evidently therapeutic for patients who do not respond well to prescription medication.
for further reading see "Acupuncture Calms Anxiety Disorder Research"
The benefits of acupuncture for anxiety
People will start to notice the benefits of acupuncture for anxiety straight away after their session. It can be a very beneficial treatment to those who depend on prescription drugs but do not want to rely on them to keep their anxiety away. People have found that acupuncture allows them to live a content and satisfying life without being on medication and getting all the harmful side effects of these prescribed drugs.
Acupuncture isn’t just for anxiety; it is also used for easing the discomfort of chemotherapy, vomiting, dental pain and headaches.
As long as you’re with a certified acupuncture specialist, you have nothing to lose by trying it – especially if you’ve tried everything else and you’re not seeing results.
If you’re interested in trying a course of acupuncture, please feel free to contact me and organise your first session. We will shortly be including auricular acupuncture as a treatment, offering as a single or package discounted offer. If you would like to try the non-invasive therapeutic effect of acupuncture, please contact us for more details.
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