Catching up with the fast pace of these times and the rigor and hustle of work has proven to be extremely stressful and anxiety-inducing. These problems often impact daily life, but we barely get time for ourselves and to address these issues.
Therefore, it is necessary to find alternative solutions which cater to anxiety-related problems that are effective and less time-consuming.
What Is Acupuncture?
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a variety of practices including herbal medicines, aromatherapy, yoga, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture. Such methods are used to enhance personal wellness as well as a way to treat a variety of mental health conditions. These include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety disorders.
In recent years, CAM practices such as acupuncture are growing in popularity. Acupuncture is a healing technique based on the concept that medical conditions and mental health disorders are caused by an imbalance in energy. It is premised on the idea that energy flows naturally through different channels in your body. Anxiety and stress cause restrictions in these channels consequently inhibiting the natural flow.
The goal of acupuncture is to restore the health and balance of these channels. Scientifically, it is explained through the lens of neuroscience, where nerves, muscles, and connective tissues are stimulated and neurochemicals are released.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture can be a one-time procedure, as well as a series of sessions depending on the professional’s recommendation. During acupuncture small needles are placed along with acupuncture points, these channels are located at certain points throughout the body.
The needles used for the procedure, vary in thicknesses and lengths and are used to stimulate and open up blocked channels of energy. This stimulation. This stimulation increases blood flow, while at the same time activating the body’s natural energy response.
Acupuncture ultimately works to reduce the production of stress hormones such as cortisol in the body, while encouraging the release of hormones that promote “feeling good.” This is why many people who are struggling to manage their anxieties have now begun to explore alternative healing practices like acupuncture.
The Benefits of Acupuncture
General benefits of acupuncture include management of pain, gastrointestinal problems, stress, and anxiety-related issues. It also helps in addressing other issues, listed below:
- Muscular pain
- Back, neck, and joint pain
- Headaches due to Eye Strain
- Immune System
- Addictions such as smoking
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Nausea (resulting from chemotherapy or surgical anesthesia)
- Stroke rehabilitation
When treating anxiety with acupuncture, many studies have shown success, with lesser side effects when contrasted with medication as a means of management. By inserting many fine needles into the body as a type of micro-trauma inducement, the brain is tricked into producing healing hormones even though one experiences little to no pain or discomfort at all.
Acupuncture is growing in popularity due to its plethora of advantages, especially for people struggling -with multiple problems. It is also very popular among people working in rigorous environments and does not have excessive time to invest in psychotherapy and long periods of medication.
This alternative method is beneficial in that;
- If performed correctly, it is safe
- There are very few side effects
- It can be effectively combined with other treatments like psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both
- It may help patients for whom pain medications are not suitable
- Does not lead to dependency unlike some prescription drugs that have serious side effects and can lead to dependency
- It is time-efficient
How Does Acupuncture Help With Anxiety?
As mentioned above, the acupuncture technique stimulates blood flow. This causes the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals, kick-start the body’s natural ability to heal itself, and stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety. These responses in effect, help with anxiety.
As a result of stimulated blood flow, the body is relieved of stressed muscles and the person feels more at ease in their body. This further results in improved sleep and a perpetual feeling of tiredness. Improved sleep and an activated body ensure that the person is better equipped to tackle the triggers and stressors, and more balanced.
The patient’s undergone treatment have also reported a surge of energy after treatment. This increased energy helps in enhanced mental clarity. The flight of fight response triggered by anxiety is mediated through regulation in the nervous system. This allows the restoration of the body’s system into a balanced mode. This transitions the body into a relaxed state, shifting it from a dominant anxious state.
Risks To Consider
There are plenty of benefits of acupuncture, and it is approved as a viable and safe option. Lack of research is a significant factor that inhibits people from fully trusting the method. The procedure is generally suitable for helping with anxiety but there is no research yet on different anxiety disorders.
Acupuncture remains controversial among Western medical doctors and scientists. There is a lack of scientific experiments and evidence due to its invasive nature. The theories also fail to better explain how acupuncture affects different types of anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias.
The possible risks of acupuncture are:
- It is dangerous if a patient has a bleeding disorder or takes blood thinners
- Bleeding, bruising, and soreness may occur at the insertion sites
- Unsterilized needles may infect the patient
- In extremely rare cases, a needle may break and damage an internal organ
Precautions To Take
The article has provided all that you need to know about acupuncture, how it works, and the risks and advantages associate with it. It is vital to prepare a list for you to keep in mind if you choose to go ahead with the procedure.
- Acupuncture has recently been popularized, an individual needs to ensure that the practitioner follows safety guidelines and precautions, and is certified and fully equipped to perform the procedure
- Ensure that you have a list of professionals near you and have a detailed consultation with them before the procedure so that your mind and body are well-prepared and familiarized with how it works
- Discuss your issues with the consultant in great detail, and agree on a plan that suits your needs and is practical enough for you to follow through with it. The plan includes charges or cost, number of sessions, how much time will have to be committed, your medical history and pre-conditions, and setting expectations
- Speak with your medical doctor or practitioner who is familiar with your medical history to ensure that you are not at any risk. It is highly recommended that you follow your doctor’s advice.
- Do not ask your acupuncturist to diagnose you. They are not certified or equipped with the license to diagnose a patient. Consult your medical doctor for diagnoses and be well aware of your condition beforehand
- Check-in with your health insurance providers if the cost of acupuncture treatment is covered. Since it is an alternative method, it is likely to not be covered under insurance. Make your financial plans and schedule accordingly.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with how acupuncture can help deal with anxiety and the symptoms it manifests physically, you can now go towards the next step and contact a medical professional to review your medical history.
Only once you are cleared from their end should you book an appointment with an acupuncturist.