Acupuncture for Anxiety


Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are beneficial in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GADS) or anxiety neurosis. There are many sub classifications of anxiety now including separation anxiety, panic disorders, phobias and neuroses. All of them have anxiety at their root and Rescue Acupuncture’s resident therapist Dr Caleb Mortensen works hard at treating them.

Depression and anxiety are often grouped together and certainly sufferers can experience both but usually one much more then the other. One aspect of the unusual nature of anxiety is that sufferers are under the influence of an unknown threat, the exact nature of which is never clear. The mind is heavily involved in anxiety, being in such a state as to interrupt what should be a healthy positive life.

Understanding Anxiety in Chinese Medicine


In Chinese Medicine we have the concept of the 5 elements and within each element are twin organs, a Yin/Yang pairing of internal organs such as the Kidneys and Urinary Bladder. Each element in turn also has a spirit or nature associated with it. With anxiety there is an associated issue with the Shen or spirit of the individual as well as with the Yi or Mind which although is connected to the digestion (spleen Ki) is said to reside in the Heart.

The Shen in Chinese Medicine

In Chinese medicine there is the concept of the Shen which otherwise translates as the spirit or essence of the individual. This is important in treatment because we have a saying, that Blood follows Ki, or to put it another way, the physical body follows the spirit. In addition to the Shen there also exists Yi, Hun, Po and Zhi. This translates as the Heart Spirit (Shen), the Mind (Yi), the Ethereal Soul (Hun), The Corporeal Soul (Po) and the Will (Zhi). The Yi in Chinese medicine is an expression of the most Yang aspect of the Spleen Ki and is associated with the Mind and along with the Shen are most heavily involved with regards to anxiety. Re-invigorating ones connection to the 5 Shen is one of the ways that Chinese medicine acts to quell the negative effects of an anxious mind.



anxiety acupuncture chinese medicine

Acupuncture for Anxiety Research

An Integrative Review (2001-2014) Acupuncture for Anxiety

There is significant evidence at this point to suggest that acupuncture can be very useful in the treatment of anxiety, there is however always the need for further research. A number of these studies wrote that these studies into acupuncture proved that their “results showed positive and statistically significant effects from using acupuncture for treating subjects with anxiety”.

The above review came from a seminal project, an integrative analysis spread out from 2001 to 2014 over established and conservative medical review organizations¬†Cinahl, Lilacs, Pubmed-Pic, SciElo, and The Cochrane Library. ‘Statistically significant’ is the language they use in reference to the usefulness of acupuncture for anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Acupuncture

In a separate study in 2014, it was reported, in this mid-size study of 443 participants, that acupuncture was equal to the medications they were trialing against. But, and this is perhaps the most significant aspect worth noting, acupuncture had no reported side effects. I don’t believe that the same can be said for a treatment regime¬† of pharmaceuticals.




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