Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine technique that usually utilizes the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. While acupuncture is most commonly used to treat physical conditions, it may also be effective in treating certain mental health conditions, such as anxiety.
Are you considering acupuncture for anxiety but are unsure if it’s the right decision? Keep reading and find everything you need to help you decide.
What Is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?
As mentioned earlier, acupuncture is a technique that often involves inserting thin needles at specific points in the body. Such points correspond to different systems in the body and the insertion can help balance the flow of energy or Qi.
This procedure can stimulate the nervous system, release endorphins and other natural pain-relieving chemicals, and help regulate the immune system.
The Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Anxiety
Acupuncture’s primary role is to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. It is used to treat various conditions, including anxiety.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. One study published by the National Library of Medicine stated that acupuncture was more effective than other control conditions in reducing anxiety symptoms in patients with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Another study found that acupuncture effectively reduced anxiety symptoms in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Similarly to the first research, this study also states that acupuncture has an absolute advantage in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in PTSD patients. In addition to reducing symptoms of anxiety, acupuncture can also have an overall positive effect on the brain.
However, it is important to note that acupuncture should not be used as a substitute for standard medical treatments for anxiety or other mental health conditions.
Factors That Can Influence the Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Anxiety
Several factors can influence acupuncture’s effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety disorders. One crucial factor is the skill and experience of the acupuncturist. A practitioner with more experience and training can provide a more effective treatment.
Other factors that can influence the effectiveness of acupuncture include different treatments the patient might be undergoing and their overall health and well-being. Additionally, the type and severity of the anxiety disorder can also play a role in acupuncture’s effectiveness.
The severity of anxiety symptoms
This factor can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of acupuncture. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as muscle tension, making it more difficult for acupuncture needles to penetrate the skin and reach the desired points. Other physical symptoms may include a churning feeling in the stomach, headache, fatigue, dizziness, sweating or hot flashes, etc.
Besides physical symptoms, anxiety can also cause psychological symptoms such as a racing mind and difficulty relaxing, making it challenging for the patient to stay calm and benefit entirely from the treatment. Additionally, anxiety can cause a heightened pain sensitivity, causing the acupuncture needles to feel more uncomfortable for the patient.
Overall, the stronger the anxiety symptoms, the more challenging for the acupuncture treatment to be as effective as it could be. Practitioners must be aware of and address these symptoms accurately to provide the best possible treatment.
Length of time the individual has been experiencing anxiety
The length of time an individual has been experiencing anxiety can affect the effectiveness of acupuncture in several ways. Suppose an individual has been experiencing such symptoms for a shorter period. In that case, acupuncture may be more effective in reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation as the body’s systems are less entrenched in that feeling.
On the other hand, if an individual has been experiencing anxiety for extended periods, acupuncture’s effect will not be as evident immediately after the session. It may take more time and a significant number of acupuncture sessions to achieve the same level of symptom reduction as the body’s systems have become more accustomed to the stress response.
The underlying causes of the anxiety may be more deeply rooted and require more targeted and in-depth treatment. Overall, it is essential to consider the duration of the disorder when determining the appropriate course of treatment with acupuncture.
Other treatments the individual is receiving
In some cases, acupuncture may be used with complementary therapies to enhance effectiveness and provide a more comprehensive approach to healing. While that might be helpful, it is essential to communicate with your acupuncturist and other healthcare providers to ensure that the treatments work together in a complementary manner to achieve the best results.
Other treatments an individual receives can affect the effectiveness of acupuncture in various ways. For example, if an individual is taking medication for a specific condition, such as pain or anxiety, the effects of acupuncture may be reduced or altered.
Additionally, if an individual is receiving other forms of physical therapy or rehabilitation, such as massage or chiropractic care, the effects of acupuncture may be amplified depending on how the treatments interact.
Considerations for Trying Acupuncture for Anxiety
Research has shown that acupuncture can effectively reduce anxiety symptoms, but it is important to note that it is best if it is not used as a sole treatment for this or other mental conditions.
Before trying acupuncture for anxiety, you should have realistic expectations about the treatment and understand that it may take several sessions to see results.
The Bottom Line
Acupuncture can be a highly effective treatment option for people with anxiety. It reduces anxiety symptoms, improves mood, and promotes overall relaxation, thus improving the overall quality of life. So, acupuncture is definitely worth trying if you are struggling with anxiety.
Ready to give acupuncture a try? Book an appointment, and get ready to experience the best alternative medicine services!