Each year, more and more Canadians suffer from the effects of anxiety. Young Canadians are especially affected by these rising levels—according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, close to one in five have a mental health issue.
While a little bit of worry now and then is perfectly normal, persistent anxiety is a serious problem. It affects relationships, creates stress and hurts your overall quality of life.
So are drugs the only way to treat anxiety? Definitely not. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to relieve your anxiety and restore a calm and centred state of mind.
Here are a few reasons why acupuncture for anxiety is great alternative to medication:
No side effects
Most anxiety medications have an array of possible side effects, including insomnia, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite and sexual dysfunction, and they can also be addictive. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, the drawbacks of drugs may outweigh the benefits.
For many people, acupuncture works just as well or better than medication—minus the side effects and risks. It’s a painless, non-invasive treatment that produces lasting changes and long-term relief.
Scientific studies have validated the effectiveness of acupuncture for anxiety. A list of sources compiled by the British Acupuncture Councils shows that acupuncture may:
- Act on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promote relaxation and deactivate the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010; Hui 2009)
- Regulate levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH; hence altering the brain’s mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states (Lee 2009; Cheng 2009; Zhou 2008)
- Reverse pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with anxiety (Arranz 2007)
- Reverse stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry (Kim 2009)
Gets to the Root of the Problem
Western medicine often takes a symptomatic approach to anxiety, meaning it treats the symptoms of the problem rather than addressing the cause. While acupuncture does treat the symptoms, it also corrects the underlying imbalances in your body.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the principle that our health depends on the uninterrupted flow of Qi (pronounced “Chee”) in our bodies. Qi is the vital life force that gives us our capacity to move, think and feel. When it’s imbalanced or blocked, our health suffers.
Acupuncture works by re-balancing the energetic system of the body and supporting the body’s capacity to heal itself. It’s a whole-body treatment that provides you with an overall sense of wellbeing.
Photo credit: “finding balance” by woodleywonderworks