Can Acupuncture Reduce Anxiety?
Everyone experiences anxiety at one point or another. Being anxious is perfectly normal, especially because anxiety is a natural reaction to stress. Anxiety can help an individual handle a stressful situation by forcing him or her to endure it. The problem only begins when the reaction becomes excessive. Those with anxiety disorders experience increased heart rate, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, nausea, even stomach aches. If extreme anxiety is not addressed, it will have serious consequences on one’s life. Thankfully, there are treatments available which can help those who suffer from anxiety disorders. One of these treatments is acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a healing practice which is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In TCM, the body as perceived as a delicate balance between two forces: yin and yang. An internal imbalance of these forces results in the blockage of the flow of the qi (or vital energy) throughout the body. The body is made up of a network of pathways or meridians, something which resembles a highway system. If these meridians are blocked or clogged just like roads during a traffic jam, diseases or ailments become inevitable. Acupuncture seeks to resume the smooth flow of the qi by inserting needles on certain points on the body that connect with the meridians.
Acupuncture Cures Anxiety?
In the Chinese medical perspective, acupuncture cures anxiety because it reestablishes the connection between the mind and body. Most people are unaware that the mind and body are linked. The best example to show this relation is the link between stress and body pain. People who suffer from high levels of stress often complain of physical pain, usually in the back, shoulder and neck. The pain in these areas are caused by tension. Because the flow of energy in blocked in these areas, pain can be expected. With acupuncture, the congested meridians can be unblocked. If the energy is free flowing, the symptoms of anxiety (and anxiety itself) can be treated.
The Western perspective presents a different viewpoint as to how anxiety and acupuncture goes together. It is said that acupuncture reduces anxiety by altering one’s brain chemistry. The act of inserting needles on certain points in the body releases endorphins, which are considered as natural pain and stress fighters. Secretion of endorphins leads to decreased feelings of pain as well as euphoric feelings. When an individual has high endorphin levels, he or she feels less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. The calming effect of acupuncture was also said to decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure and relax the muscles.
Acupuncture is quite effective as a treatment for anxiety.
In fact, some consider this ancient healing practice the cheaper and safer alternative to prescription medications. It is a fact that most pregnant women suffer from anxiety. The nature of pregnancy, as well as the changes and transition that come with it, gives expectant women a lot of things to worry about. Working mothers face a tougher situation, since they also have other responsibilities to think of. Meanwhile, those who suffered from anxiety prior to pregnancy reported that the anxiety symptoms get worse during pregnancy. Pregnant women who underwent acupuncture treatment said they felt very relaxed and experienced a significant decrease in their anxiety symptoms. Hence, there is indeed a link between anxiety and acupuncture.