Symptoms of anxiety are experienced by generally every person globally. Unfortunately, the excessive worrying that defines anxiety is often uncontrollable and impacts the daily lives of many individuals. The most common treatments for anxiety are medication, psychotherapy, or both. However, an alternative treatment that has been currently rising in popularity for anxiety is acupuncture. It is highly advisable to speak to a physician prior to seeking out acupuncture. Acupuncture is not for everyone, and doctors may suggest alternatives to acupuncture therapy such as Yin Yoga, or they may suggest receiving acupuncture in conjunction with medication and or psychotherapy.
Acupuncture is a part of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which believe there are meridians in the body, or pathways, which create a “vital energy” flow, or Qi, which impacts overall health. According to TCM, physical and mental disorders such as anxiety, may be causes by an imbalance of Qi in the body which is supposed to exist in homeostasis. This treatment has been around for centuries and as such caught the attention of modern medicine as an alternative treatment for psychiatric disorders such as anxiety
Most current research regarding anxiety and acupuncture treatment have generally focused on generalized anxiety disorder. Although current studies are heavily debated, researchers generally agree that acupuncture does not negatively impact anxiety and as such if you are experiencing anxiety, acupuncture is a safe alternative treatment to look into as it will not worsen symptoms. It is also important to note that it is important to not discontinue any current anxiety treatments if you decide to seek acupuncture without first consulting your doctor. I hope more research is invested into treating more anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, as the research on generalized anxiety is hopeful.
In 2016, rats were treated with acupuncture, and the researchers found the treatment effectively reduced anxiety by decreasing the fight or flight response. Rats are often used as a model organism to study the biopsychological impact of certain disorders; however, these results are backed up by an interesting study conducted on participants diagnosed with anxiety that failed to respond to any other treatment. Over the course of 12-weeks, the participants in this study received ten half hour treatments and were compared to a control group. The results of this study demonstrated that the participants who received acupuncture experienced a significant reduction in anxiety over the course of their treatment. As such if you have been battling anxiety, and want to try an alternative treatment, acupuncture is a generally safe alternative treatment that should not worsen symptoms of anxiety given that you consult with a doctor. Therefore, it is also important to make sure you have the financial means to cover the costs of treatment and if you have access consult with your insurance to see if acupuncture is covered.
Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular alternative treatment for anxiety. This treatment has been around for centuries and is a part of TCM, which believes that acupuncture can be used to restore the bodies balance of qi, which is essential for physical and mental well-being. As such, this treatment is being heavily researched to treat psychiatric disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and the results of these studies are promising and offer hope towards individuals struggling with anxiety who did not respond well to current treatments such as medicine. For this reason, I believe that more money should be invested into alternative medicine treatments, such as acupuncture, to ensure everyone receives the treatment for anxiety that works for them.