Doctor performing acupuncture on woman.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in America. Despite mounting evidence that acupuncture, a therapy without any serious side effects, can provide significant relief from anxiety, many people, including a fair number of doctors, neglect to consider acupuncture as a viable therapeutic option. If you suffer from anxiety to the point that it interferes with your daily functioning and enjoyment of life, it’s time to consider the benefits of acupuncture.

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, where our physiatrists focus on pain relief and restoration of function, we embrace acupuncture as a valuable treatment for a wide variety of conditions. Having studied the discipline at Harvard Medical School, our doctors are well-qualified to administer acupuncture as well as a broad range of other nonsurgical therapies.

As a matter of fact, we often use a strategic combination of treatments to maximize positive results.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, apprehension, worry, or nervousness. Though a natural response to stress, like other painful emotional symptoms, if it intensifies and becomes persistent, it can seriously interfere with your ability to function and negatively impact your quality of life. When this happens, it is essential to seek professional help since prolonged anxiety can result in a damaged career and relationships and a broad range of physical ailments.

How Does Acupuncture Help to Treat Anxiety?

Rooted in ancient Chinese medicine, for thousands of years acupuncture has been a successful holistic treatment of myriad health problems, both mental and physical. Now accepted by such prestigious medical organizations as the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture is based on the principle of Qi (chee), the source of energy that courses through the body along charted meridians. 

Because blockages in the energy flow are believed to be the cause of physical and emotional disorders, practitioners of acupuncture insert hair-thin needles in the skin at strategic pressure points along these pathways in order to restore the free flow of Qi. 

These needles are left in place for about 20 minutes, during which patients feel no pain and can simply relax — many doze off during treatments. The administration of acupuncture both reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol and stimulates the release of biochemicals that stimulate healing and a sense of well-being. In cases of anxiety elevated by a single event (e.g. prior to surgery), patients may experience relief after a single session. For chronic anxiety, up to 12 sessions may be necessary for full benefits.

Types of Anxiety Acupuncture Can Alleviate

Medical professionals have classified several types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Specific phobias, like the fear of heights or spiders
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety during pregnancy 

As noted earlier, untreated anxiety can, and frequently does, result in physical problems, such as headaches, migraines, sleep difficulties, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and substance abuse. It can also intensify pain from injury or illness by increasing inflammation. This is why the earlier you receive treatment for anxiety, the healthier you will be.

How You Can Help Acupuncture Reduce Anxiety

Making positive lifestyle changes can support and enhance the effects of acupuncture, including:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Practicing breathing slowly and deeply
  • Making social connections regularly

Learning to apply acupressure to your own body can also be very helpful. Pressure Point Extra-1 (Yin Tang) is the best target for reducing anxiety. It is at the midpoint between your eyebrows (on your forehead, not the bridge of your nose). Pressing and massaging this spot can accelerate the relief from anxiety that acupuncture provides.

Contact Our Experienced Acupuncture Specialists Today

Although modern and ancient medicine now combine to offer several productive ways of managing anxiety, only about 37 percent of those suffering seek treatment. Don’t be one of them. Contact our dedicated, compassionate doctors now for the comfort and ease you deserve.