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Anxiety & Acupuncture

Updated: Sep 29

Acupuncture is holistic healing that integrates and harmonizes your mind, body, and spirit by inserting needles in specific locations. The needles transmit a signal to your nervous system to release hormones. These hormones are endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin which promote your healing.

According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture is beneficial for anxiety, depression, insomnia, nervousness, and neurosis. In the U.S. 6.2 % of adults in the U.S. are afflicted with anxiety disorder, which is one of the most common mental disorders, but it can be treated. This article will mention Anxiety, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Functional Gastrointestinal disorders and how acupuncture has improved these health conditions.


Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. In general, it helps you to cope. But, when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it has become a disabling disorder. In Western Medicine, anxiety disorders are:

  • · General Anxiety disorder (GAD)

  • · Panic disorder

  • · Obsessive -Compulsive Disorder

  • Post-Traumatic Stress disorder

  • Social Phobia


General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is when worrying gets out of control. It produces symptoms of fear, worry, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. The worrying feeling is every day. You may feel shortness of breath, palpitations, headaches, dizziness, and restlessness. In Traditional Chinese Medicine this would be an excess of emotions (Yang).

According to scientific research, GAD tends to be more frequent among women, blacks, young adults, and low income or their occupational status. According to scientific research, there are five types of thought control strategies.

Five types of thought control strategies:

· distraction e.g. “I do something that I enjoy”,

· social control e.g.,” I ask my friend if they have similar thoughts”,

· worry e.g.,” I focus on different negative thoughts”,

· punishment e.g. I punish myself for thinking this thought”, and

· reappraisal e.g.,” I try to interpret the thought”.

These thought control strategies are further divided for positive associates of pathology including worry, neuroticism, and introversion (worry and punishment), and thought control strategies show a non-significant but negative correlation with stress and vulnerability including distraction, social control, and reappraisal.


Post-traumatic stress disorder is also a form of anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Therapies for PTSD include psychological, pharmacologic, and alternative treatments such as acupuncture. According to research acupuncture can affect the autonomic nervous system, and the prefrontal as well as the limbic brain structure making it able to relieve symptoms of PTSD.


The digestive system includes the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, there are two digestive disorders, functional and structural. Functional diseases are those in which the GI tract looks normal when examined but doesn't move properly. They are the most common problems affecting the GI tract (including the colon and rectum). Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, food poisoning, gas, bloating, GERD, and diarrhea are common examples.

Structural gastrointestinal diseases are those where your bowel looks abnormal upon examination and doesn't work properly. Sometimes, the structural abnormality needs to be removed surgically. Common examples of structural GI diseases include strictures, stenosis, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, colon polyps, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.

According to the research article. “Acupuncture for emotional symptoms in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis” patients suffer from anxiety and depression acupuncture is effective in relieving anxiety and depression symptoms.

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