How Acupuncture Helps with Anxiety

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Are you waking up at 3 a.m. or unable to sleep? If so, you’re not alone! Many people struggle with a variety of symptoms that may be rooted from a hectic lifestyle that can trigger our anxiety. Anxiety lays the foundation for various symptoms to arise that may look like: sleeplessness waking up at 3am or not being able to  fall asleep, shortness of breath or not being able to catch your breath, racing thoughts and/or brain fog,  panic attacks, digestive issues, altered appetite and irritability. 


“Having anxiety doesn’t always mean that you are in a state of panic,” stated Dr. Sian James, Lead Acupuncturist at ORA, “When I would get anxious I would unconsciously twirl my hair excessively without noticing it. Anxiety is different for each person”


What exactly triggers anxiety and what are the different types of anxiety? It’s crucial to keep in mind that what triggers one individual's anxiety may not necessarily trigger another person. Common types of anxiety include: work and/or school anxiety, stage fright/performance anxiety, social anxiety, to name a few. 


Acupuncture is a holistic method of reinforcing and assisting the body/mind in the healing journey. Anxiety is your mind and body’s response to unfamiliar circumstances, stress or even post traumatic past experiences; therefore, acupuncture can be a huge beneficial remedy to help reduce anxiety. 


There are three parts to treating Anxiety with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Acupuncture, herbal medicine and lifestyle. Acupuncture influences the nervous system and balances both the parasympathetic (visualize how you feel while on vacation at the pool or beach) and sympathetic (the night before a major deadline or exam) activities to help lessen the body’s fight or flight stress response.


Acupuncture can stimulate and discharge endorphins, which play a huge function in the body’s stress response. Each session is highly personalized with a very thorough consultation. Treatments are tailored to each person’s specific needs, keeping into consideration their medical history, and other lifestyle factors.  Needles are placed throughout different meridian, or energy pathways, points in the body which create a change in the flow of the meridians. Some points used are Ear Shen Men, an auricular point, which is often used to treat addiction, anxiety, depression, and stress. PC 6 is very helpful in calming the Shen, opening the chest, synchronizing and regulating the Qi and balancing the stomach. 


Let's talk about Herbs - How do herbs help reduce stress? 

The powerful influence in Chinese herbal medicine lays in its capacity to treat, regulate and cure various symptoms

Gui Pi Tang is most frequently prescribed for treating Shen conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and palpitations. 

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan are commonly prescribed for treating insomnia, mental disturbances, heart and diseases.

Xiao Yao San is prescribed when treating anxiety, depression, and insomnia

Please consult your acupuncturist before using herbal medicine, especially if you have a known medical condition or if you are pregnant or nursing.


Besides all the benefits of acupuncture to treat anxiety, nutrition is also a fundamental component. Adopting a nutrient-dense diet, can help avoid triggering anxiety levels. Try to limit your caffeine intake, as caffeine is an anxiogenic drug and instead try a tea. At ORA we have the Find Your Focus tea which helps boost energy and body optimization. 


Keeping blood sugars stable is key Each time you hit a sudden drop in blood sugar level it produces a stress response in the body which for certain individuals can be equal to anxiety. In TCM, it’s recommended to consume seasonal foods that are alike in nature to our outside environment. Which allows the body to stay in sync with the environment, adjust better to changes in season and stay healthy.

For more information to inquire on how acupuncture can treat anxiety, contact one of our ORA locations or visit — Where healing is holistic!