Can Acupuncture Help Anxiety?
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia, with 16.8% of Australians experiencing symptoms over a 12 month period (ABS, 2008). One in three women and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage in their life (ABS, 2008).
What is Anxiety?
While feelings of stress and anxious feelings are a common response to situations where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the 'stressor' is removed. Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. When these anxious feelings do not go away, or happen for no particular reason, and start to make it hard to cope with daily life, this may be a sign of an anxiety condition.
As acupuncturists at our Brisbane Acupuncture clinic, we assist in the management of the symptoms as registered allied health professionals. Acupuncture for anxiety is a holistic and non-pharmacologic management approach to anxiety that works well alongside Western medical approaches.
Evidence Based Research - Acupuncture for the treatment of Anxiety
A comparative review of clinical and scientific evidence for acupuncture for the treatment of anxiety found acupuncture to be moderately effective in treating anxiety according to high level evidence (Mcdonald & Janz, 2017). The evidence in the review included a 2016 systematic review with over 400 randomised patients that concluded that 'the effects from acupuncture for treating anxiety have been shown to be significant as compared to conventional treatments (Goyata et al., 2016).
A 2018 systemic review which included thirteen studies reported "a decrease in anxiety for their treatment group relative to the control groups", with three of the thirteen studies using pharmaceuticals as controls (Amorin et al., 2018).
How does Acupuncture work?
Recent studies have shown that acupuncture works on the body's autonomic nervous system. The autonomic system which is comprised of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), is responsible for regulating and maintaining homeostasis within the body (Low, 2021). When our body receives environmental stimulus, whether that be internal or external, the SNS release excitatory signals and the PNS releases signals for relaxation when necessary (Low, 2021).
The response of the ANS can influence physiological processes like heart rate and force of contraction of the heart (Low, 2021). A form of measure called the Heart Rate Variability (HRV), is used to measure the body's ability to cope with stress (Chung et al., 2014). HRV changes depending on the bodies response to stress. A higher HRV has been associated with better health, including mental health and low levels of anxiety (Chung et al., 2014). Acupuncture has been shown to improve the body's ability to cope with stress through improving Heart Rate Variability (Chung et al., 2014).
Acupuncture for Anxiety at our Brisbane Acupuncture Clinic
Our Brisbane Acupuncture clinic is located close to the Brisbane CBD. We are a holistic Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture clinic and believe in the importance of working well together with all health professionals to support you in achieving your own health goals.
As part of your appointments, the acupuncturist will consider your full medical history, and assess your body from a Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective. Individualised acupuncture treatments will then be used to support your body from a TCM framework. In some cases dietary and lifestyle factors as well as Chinese herbs may be considered.
If you have any enquiries other whether acupuncture for anxiety would be suitable for you please enquire with us here.