Does Acupuncture Work for Anxiety?

Acupuncture for Anxiety

Acupuncture for Anxiety

From 2020 to 2022, the number of people living with anxiety more than tripled. This makes perfect sense with the additional stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, including changes in living situations and income, and fewer outlets for blowing off steam. If your anxiety levels have gone through the roof and your usual go-to’s aren’t helping anymore, it might be time to give acupuncture a try.

“Anxiety” is a blanket term for a number of different conditions, like panic attacks, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and so on. Some people will say they don’t have anxiety, but they do have trouble sleeping because they can’t stop thinking about the future. That sounds like anxiety to me.

When I ask patients to tell me what their anxiety feels like in their body, I hear things like, “I get butterflies in my stomach,” “My mind races,” or “I can feel my heart beating in my chest.” Other common physical symptoms might include flushing (getting hot suddenly), dizziness, spontaneous sweating, headache, nausea, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, restlessness, or the inability to relax. Some of the psychological/cognitive symptoms of anxiety are impatience, irritability, fatigue, mind racing, mind going blank, indecisiveness, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty with memory.

Standard treatments for anxiety include mental health therapy and medication. Other common recommendations are exercise, meditation, and avoiding alcohol and other substances. Maybe you’ve already tried all of these and you are looking for more help. Maybe you’d like to avoid taking a prescription if you can. Maybe you can’t take your regular prescription anymore because you’re pregnant. If any of these are true for you, acupuncture can be a wonderful addition to your care.

Research shows that in both human-based and animal-based research, acupuncture can reduce anxiety behaviors and biochemical markers. One study from 2015 showed that people with anxiety who weren’t responding well to other treatments had an improvement in symptoms with a series of acupuncture treatments over 12 weeks. The benefits of the acupuncture lasted at least 10 weeks after their last treatment.

A 2018 review of studies showed that acupuncture can enhance the patient’s response to anti-anxiety medications, and can reduce the side effects of those medications. As a result of these and other studies, some health insurance companies do cover acupuncture for anxiety, making it more accessible for many who want to try it.

Learn more and schedule an appointment

Living with anxiety hurts. It affects your quality of life and makes everything harder. Acupuncture can help. Contact us today to get compassionate support to help improve your mental health. 

Established patients can schedule online, patients who haven’t seen us at Kwan Yin Healing Center call (503) 701-8766, or email us to schedule your appointment.

About Lisa Tongel

We are practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine specializing in fertility, IVF support, pregnancy care, reproductive health, and pelvic pain.