Part of a medical system known as TCM or traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it involves the use of sterilized filiform needles inserted at certain regions of the body. The treatment is often used to modify the circulation of qi energy in the body that is believed to become unbalanced resulting in disease. Qi circulates along energy channels known as meridians.
Relying on an understanding of the interaction between the 5 TCM elements of wood, metal, water, fire, and earth, acupuncture practitioners believe that each organ can be affected by these elements; the organs themselves are associated with either yin or yang energy and react to certain acupoints on the skin.
Emotions and Elements
Each of the TCM elements also has emotions related to them. Metal for example, is associated with grief and r sadness, wood is related to anger, earth corresponds to worry, fire with happiness, and water with fear.
Chinese acupuncturists throughout the centuries have ascertained that the mind and body are very closely related. This is the reason why acupuncture needles tend to stimulate specific points on certain energy channels in the body and affect the functions of the brain to manage problems such as depression and anxiety with the use of proper trigger point activations.
At first, Western physicians thought that acupuncture was ineffective; however, a lot of research and worldwide spread of medicine have placed acupuncture into a much better light. As part of their practice, some Western physicians hire acupuncturists while others learn the art of acupuncture themselves.
Acupuncture and Anxiety
One of the world’s most common emotional problems today is anxiety. In fact, in the United States, 40 million adults suffer from it each year making it the biggest type of mental illness in that country. Anxiety is described as having an exaggerated reaction, perceived or real, to a fearful or stressful situation. It’s the body and brain’s way of saying to you that an overload of the stress response has made your body weak.
Anxiety can become evident in the body in various ways:
• It commonly causes feeling of extreme nervousness
• Anxiety can relate to your emotions so that your mind can feel an irrational fear
• It impairs your behavior leading to fear, irritability or anger reactions.
• Cognitive changes can arise due to anxiety – negative thoughts hovering in your body regarding your situation.
• As a gut reaction to stress, your body can experience a pit in the middle of your abdomen.
Where does Anxiety Come From?
• Random feelings caused by life situations or by everyday stress
• PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder
• Obsessive compulsive behavior
• Social anxiety disorder
• Generalized anxiety disorder
There are individuals who are more prone to stressors and get anxious more easily than others. To a certain extent, anxiety can also be hereditary. When you experience real changes in your brain, it is the neurochemicals causing your anxious experience.
Anxiety from the Point of View of Traditional Chinese Medicine
The source of anxiety In Traditional Chinese Medicine is suspected to come from the heart and kidneys rather than the brain. Acupuncture activates places along the meridians causing the removal of blockages to the normal circulation of qi.
When a person has too much heat in the heart, TCM believes that this affects the organ’s relationship with the kidney, resulting in fear. The “water organ” kidney is unable to control the fire within the heart causing the fire to ascend to the brain, resulting in anxious feelings.
The aim of acupuncture treatment is to balance and boost qi as it relates to the heart, and the kidneys.
Does Acupuncture Really Work?
Recent studies have shown that acupuncture generates responses on the body equal to the effects of cognitive-behavioral treatment. The Journal of Endocrinology Studies presents research that shows a reduction in stress hormone levels in animals when they were treated with acupuncture therapies.
Anxiety and Depression
The symptoms of anxiety and depression are very much related to each other. Certain individuals exhibit just one set of symptoms while others manifest both depression and anxiety symptoms at the same time. When this occurs, qi has become unbalanced and so the practitioner strives to strengthen the flow of qi more to correct this imbalance.
For those suffering from depression and anxiety, they need to talk their doctor first before trying acupuncture treatment. These days, more and more doctors tend to have an open mind when it comes to acupuncture treatment because they see that it does have certain benefits when used as an adjunctive treatment to their own mainstream treatments. They have seen the ability of acupuncture in Vancouver to reduce the symptoms of depression and relax the mind without the need for addictive or toxic pills.
Select a qualified practitioner who is licensed and runs a well-maintained and clean clinic.