Acupuncture for Anxiety 101

Anxiety is a disorder impacting 18%+ of the population every year. Some people have minor anxiety, while others have a lower quality of life due to their anxiety. Acupuncture for anxiety may help you restore your confidence, happiness and stop the worrying from taking over your life.

Acupuncture Benefits for Anxiety

Researchers have documented the key benefits of acupuncture for anxiety. The research available focuses on one main form of anxiety: generalized anxiety disorder. A few of the many studies backing acupuncture health benefits for people with anxiety include:

Acupuncture and General Anxiety Disorder

2021 study was conducted in the form of a systematic review and meta-analysis. Twenty randomized controlled trials were part of the study and found that acupuncture offers:

  • Reduction in anxiety
  • High tolerance levels
  • Enhanced treatment safety

Based on the review and studies included in the review, GAD seems to benefit greatly from acupuncture treatment. Furthermore, since acupuncture can be performed alongside other forms of anxiety treatment, it is an ideal candidate for use in conjunction with other treatment methods.

Pregnancy, Anxiety and Major Depressive Disorder

One review from 2013 examined numerous studies and only chose studies with stringent criteria to be included in the review.

The main review found acupuncture to offer a high level of support for treating major depressive disorder and anxiety in pregnant women.

Many of the studies above took place over the course of numerous weeks and in 30-minute sessions.

Specific Benefits of Acupuncture for Anxiety

Acupuncture, when performed to relieve anxiety, has numerous benefits:

  • Reduction in anxiety that is shown to last for up to 10 weeks in some studies
  • Improvement in anxiety, even in people that didn’t respond well to traditional treatment
  • One study in rats indicates that acupuncture may change the body’s fight-or-flight response

It’s important to note that acupuncture for anxiety has a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting its benefits, but there needs to be more research done in the area. Research is ongoing that examines phobias, panic attacks and anxiety as it relates to acupuncture treatments.

Theories on How Acupuncture for Anxiety Works

Even in the studies and reviews above, researchers have stated that acupuncture is beneficial for treating anxiety. The main issue is that there isn’t a consensus on why acupuncture works better than other treatments for anxiety,

There are theories that when the body’s Qi isn’t properly balanced, all of these stressors can set off your anxiety.

One theory published in the Journal of Endocrinology demonstrates that acupuncture slows stress hormone production. Since stress and anxiety are intrinsically linked, the reduction of stress hormones naturally reduces stress without the risk of serious side effects.

Acupuncture always has the risk of soreness, dizziness and bruising, but these risks are minimal and not common.

Patients receiving acupuncture for anxiety also benefit from results quickly. Many patients notice a measurable difference in their anxiety following a single treatment session. However, other patients will need numerous sessions before they experience a reduction in their anxiety.

According to the studies above, the benefits of acupuncture for anxiety can last for 10 weeks or longer, depending on the person.

This article was written by an independent researcher. On matters of acupuncture, this article may not accurately represent the teachings of ITEA.