Anxiety is a condition that affects many people all over the world. It can be caused by many different factors, including stress, genetics, and lifestyle choices. Acupuncture is a treatment option that has been shown to be effective for anxiety. But how does it work? And why does it help?
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. It involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body.
These points are located along energy pathways, known as meridians. Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the flow of energy along these meridians, which can help to restore balance and promote healing.
What are the main benefits of acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a holistic treatment that can offer many benefits. In addition to treating anxiety, it can also help to improve overall wellbeing, relieve pain, and reduce stress.
How does acupuncture reduce anxiety?
There are a few different theories as to how acupuncture can help to relieve anxiety. One theory is that it helps to release endorphins, which are chemicals that play a role in pain relief and stress reduction. Endorphins can help to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety.
Another theory is that acupuncture helps to regulate the autonomic nervous system. This system controls functions like heart rate and blood pressure. When it is out of balance, it can contribute to anxiety and other conditions. By regulating the autonomic nervous system, acupuncture can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Acupuncture helps reduce muscle tension and pain
When I am very anxious my shoulders rise and my shoulder muscles become as hard as stones. Over the years I have found acupuncture very effective in relieving this muscle tension. As soon as the therapist inserts her trusty needles, I feel the tension start to dissipate and I often drift off into a light sleep.
There is scientific evidence to support the claim that acupuncture can help to reduce muscle tension and pain. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture was effective in reducing muscle tension headaches.
Another study, published in the Journal of Pain, found that acupuncture was effective in reducing pain and muscle tension in people with chronic neck pain.
Are there any potential side effects?
Acupuncture is generally considered to be a safe treatment with few side effects. The most common side effect is bruising or soreness at the needle insertion site.
People who have a pacemaker or suffer from conditions such a haemophilia or bleeding disorders should not have acupuncture.
Pregnant women should also avoid acupuncture, as there is a risk of miscarriage.
How to choose the right acupuncturist
It is important to seek treatment from a qualified and experienced practitioner. This will help to minimize the risk of any potential side effects and ensure that you receive the most benefit from treatment.
Check out reviews online and visit their clinic in person to get a feel for the practitioner and their practice.
What happens during an acupuncture session?
During an acupuncture session, the practitioner will assess your condition and ask about your symptoms. They will then insert needles into specific points on your body.
The needles will be left in place for around 20-30 minutes, during which time you may feel a tingling or aching sensation.
After the needles are removed, you will likely feel relaxed and may even fall asleep. The effects of treatment can last for several days or weeks.
Final thoughts about the benefits of acupuncture when treating anxiety
Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment option for anxiety that can offer many additional benefits. It is important to seek treatment from a qualified and experienced practitioner to ensure the best possible outcome. Alternatively, you could try to use an acupuncture mat, which I have also found to be very effective.
If you are struggling with anxiety, acupuncture may be a treatment option worth considering. Frankly I found it very helpful in managing my anxiety and I hope it can do the same for you.
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