18 Million Americans suffer from Anxiety
That’s a whole lot of people. And frankly, I’m surprised the number isn’t higher, given the nature of modern life. Fortunately, acupuncture has been shown to lower anxiety levels in clinical trials, and one of the most noticeable effects of acupuncture for my patients is a sense of greater relaxation.
I know how unpleasant anxiety can be, having experienced it myself on and off over the years. It’s one reason I went into East Asian Medicine. For example, my interest in meditation, Tai Chi, and mind/body medicine in general were born in large part from the stress and anxiety I experienced in adolescence and my twenties.
According to the Merck Manual, anxiety disorders involve a state of distressing but fluctuating nervousness that is inappropriately severe for the person’s circumstances. For instance, all of us have experienced fear in a specific situation (e.g. a car accident). This fear recedes as the situation passes. With anxiety disorder, fear pervades ordinary daily activities, so that every moment can feel like an emergency.
Research on Acupuncture for Anxiety Disorder
Studies have shown that Acupuncture is effective for treating anxiety even in people that did not respond to cognitive behavioral therapy, bibliotherapy, and medication. These “non-responders” were given 10 acupuncture treatments, and showed significant improvement on the Anxiety Inventory Scale.
These improvements were maintained for 10 weeks after the acupuncture treatments. (“Randomised controlled Trial on the Use of Acupuncture in Adults with Chronic, Non-responding Anxiety Symptoms”, Acupunct Med 2015 Apr:33(2):98-101).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25595195
Anxiety, and other emotional disturbances, often contribute to a compromised immune system. Immune function has been shown to be significantly improved by acupuncture treatment. For example, in one study of women suffering from anxiety, blood values for immune function were brought much closer to healthy levels.
(“Effect of Acupuncture Treatment on the Immune Function Impairment Found in Anxious Women”, Am J Chin Med 2007; 35(1):35-51). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17265549
Herbs and Supplements for Anxiety
Anxiety is not new, and there are many useful remedies, both ancient and modern. While I typically recommend herbs based on the individual, some that I use in the clinic include:
Herb Formulas: Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan, Gui Pi Wan, and An Shen Bu Xin Wan
Supplements: Magnesium Glycinate or Magnesium Threonate, L-Theanine, Relora (a patented blend of 2 Chinese herbs), Rhodiola
For more specific recommendations, consider making an appointment.
Jim Stegenga, L.Ac.
Serving Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater, and the South Puget Sound