Acupuncture For Anxiety

Acupuncture is wonderful for reducing anxiety, and there’s a surprising amount of research on the topic.⠀

Acupuncture can help:

  • Regulate the autonomic nervous system and reduce elevated heart rate. Click here to read
  • Lower cortisol levels, read here.
  • Increase endorphins and regulate serotonin (which impacts mood and sleep, among other things) read more here.

Each of these actions make it phenomenal for relieving anxiety.

In effect, acupuncture helps take the body of out “fight or flight mode.”

In research, the gold standard is the “systematic review.” A systematic review gathers all of the high-quality research studies that were completed on a particular topic and compiles the data. 

From this very large pool of data, they draw broad conclusions about the topics being researched.

Several systematic reviews in the past decade support the use of acupuncture for reducing generalized anxiety and panic attacks:

For example, a 2016 systematic review of acupuncture and anxiety “…showed positive and statistically significant effects from using acupuncture for treating subjects with anxiety.” Article linked here

Another, more recent systematic review from 2018 took a look at an even larger group of studies, several of which compared acupuncture to pharmaceutical treatment.

They concluded that, “Overall, there is good scientific evidence encouraging acupuncture therapy to treat anxiety disorders as it yields effective outcomes, with fewer side effects than conventional treatment.” Article linked here.

It sounds unlikely that resting with needles in would be possible, but it really is. Most of my patients fall asleep on the treatment table, no matter what they’re being treated for.

How? 

  • The needles are incredibly thin – the width of a human hair – and many people don’t even feel them going in. 
  • Acupuncture dissolves the body’s “fight or flight” response. So most people feel slowly more and more relaxed as they rest on the table.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, I urge you to give acupuncture a try!