• Acupuncture to Treat Anxiety

  • Woman holding hands while on couch.

    If you suffer from anxiety, you will be happy to know that acupuncture has been known to treat this condition effectively. About 40 million people in the United States suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. Symptoms vary by disorder but may include shortness of breath, variations in heart rate, panic attacks, headaches, insomnia and even physical pain.

    Anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions, just as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes are. They happen to be the most common mental disorders in the United States, and they often come with depression, a prolonged period of sadness and hopelessness.

    Studies show that acupuncture is moderately effective in the treatment of anxiety when compared with conventional treatments. It has been found that acupuncture had a significant effect on reducing depression and anxiety as opposed to conventional treatment such as drugs and psychotherapy, with more than twice the reduction in symptoms.

    Because anxiety is a difficult condition to treat, with high rates of relapse and medication side-effects, evidence suggests that acupuncture is an effective treatment modality.

    Acupuncture From a Biochemical Perspective

    The autonomic nervous system (ANS), made up of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), is responsible for regulating the internal conditions required for existence, AKA homeostasis. The body receives a response from external stimuli; as a result, either the SNS delivers it, releasing excitatory signals, or the PNS delivers it, releasing relaxation signals.

    Depending on the mode of delivery, the body will react in different ways. Perhaps the heart rate will increase, or perhaps blood pressure will lessen and thereby slow down the heart rate.  

    The Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is considered a sensitive measure of your body’s ability to cope with stress. Instead of beating at the same rate as a metronome, the heart will change its rate based on its response to the environment. A higher HRV is connected to better health all around, including low anxiety levels. Acupuncture is thought to improve your body’s ability to cope with stress via the improvement of HRV.

    When you are stressed, a part of your brain called the hypothalamus releases neurochemicals, and acupuncture acts to calm down this response. It can also encourage an endorphin release, which helps to regulate emotional and physical stress responses such as pain, blood pressure, heart rate, and digestive function.

    Acupuncture can be performed as a stand-alone treatment to anxiety or in conjunction with traditional pain medications and methods to achieve successful results.

    All the evidence we have to date suggests that acupuncture has moderate benefits for anxiety treatment.

    Contact Metro Detroit Acupuncture

    If you suffer from depression or anxiety and would like to try acupuncture for treatment, call us at (248) 432-2846. We are Metro Detroit’s leading acupuncture and pain management clinic.