According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is the most widespread mental disorder in the country. It affects about 18.1% of American adults, or 40 million people, each year. Those suffering from anxiety disorders visit the doctor about three to five times more than those without anxiety. However, less than 40% of anxiety patients ever get treated.
Most anxiety patients take medicine or undergo therapy to treat their condition. Unfortunately, both options can be costly. It may take months of therapy before the patient sees any positive effects. Medications may have several unwanted side effects. Luckily, there are several alternative solutions.
Acupuncture can help treat anxiety, but very few are aware of its benefits. The main reason that acupuncture is so effective is that its benefits are nearly immediate. While the patient may not feel relief right after treatment, but the effects are usually noticeable within a day after the session. Acupuncture is especially useful for those with severe anxiety who require fast-acting relief.
Acupuncture also helps fight against reinforcement behaviors, a severe issue for anxiety patients. Someone with anxiety may avoid stressful situations which will provide temporary relief, but only increase their fear. Acupuncture has the potential to change the brain's train of thought and therefore reduce negative reinforcemen
Chinese tradition holds that the human body is full of energy called qi. This qi maintains people's health and well-being. It moves through the body like blood through passageways called meridians. However, meridians can be blocked and cause a buildup of qi. Stress, malnutrition, and other influences can all hinder your body's meridians.
Acupuncture helps free these meridians to restore your body's qi flow. Patients feel calm, energized, and happier thanks to this treatment. Acupuncture also helps treat related conditions such as depression, stress, and even addiction.
A New York AcuHealth Acupuncture practitioner named Daniel Hsu claims that qi is just a metaphor for the various chemical processes in your body. However, acupuncture also helps release a different type of chemical more widely accepted by Western science: endorphins. Endorphins are the body's "feel-good hormone" as they help relieve and heal pain and trigger feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Exercise triggers the body to release endorphins, which is why so many people report positive feelings after working out.
A 2013 Georgetown University Medical Center study, later published in the Journal of Endocrinology, tested how electroacupuncture affects stressed rats. Scientists exposed groups of rats to ten days of cold stress. Scientists administered electroacupuncture to one group of rats before the cold exposure. That particular group showed lower signs of stress hormones and neuropeptide Y, which the body produces during "fight or flight" responses.
Using acupuncture to overcome anxiety can change many people's lives. Acupuncture is incredibly safe and has little to no side effects. Eastern Asian countries have used this practice for centuries, and Western nations are slowly adopting it as well. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with other treatments like counseling, medication, and meditation. Patients should consult their doctor beforehand.