Anxiety is something that we all experience in the normal course of life. However, when anxiety becomes persistent, uncontrollable, and overwhelming, it can be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions and are the most common mental disorders in the United States. According to data studies, approximately 40 million people in the US experience an anxiety disorder in a given year. Globally, the World Health Organization reports that 1 in 13 suffer from anxiety making it the most common mental disorder worldwide. 

Since the prevalence of these disorders is so great, a lot of focus in the mental health realm has been on different treatment options. For many who suffer from anxiety, a combination of medication and psychotherapy has traditionally been the go-to treatment. Many now, however, are looking towards more natural avenues to manage anxiety and have found great benefits in acupuncture. 

Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique believed to have been developed in China several thousand years ago. The practice is based on the idea that physical and mental ailments are the result of imbalances of energy in the body. This energy, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, is called Qi. When the body is functioning correctly, the Qi will flow through certain channels in unhindered. If these channels become congested, this is when disorders or diseases occur. 

The goal then of acupuncture is to unblock these channels to allow the Qi to flow freely and restore balance to the mind and body. This is achieved by ultra-thin needles being inserted into specific points on the body where the blockage of energy may be occurring. 

For those who suffer from anxiety, the benefits of acupuncture are bountiful. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the psychical symptoms of anxiety faster than therapy and patients have been able to cut back on their medications. These treatments help to address rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, headaches, digestive issues which are all common with anxiety. Those who have experienced the healing benefits of acupuncture report feeling peaceful and calm. 

With any type of treatment, there are potential side effects and risks. The main side effects that are commonly experienced are soreness following a session. This usually goes away shortly after but some bruising also may occur. Some people also indicate that they feel slight pain from the needles during the session. A more serious complication that is very rare, is developing an infection due to the needles not being properly sterilized. When it comes to acupuncture, most negatives can be avoided by making sure that you see a licensed acupuncturist who knows specifically how to treat anxiety. 

About the Author

Kimberly Sandberg Aloha Integrative Health
Kim Sandberg is the owner and founder of Aloha Integrative Health and a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She has two advanced degrees: a Masters of Science in Nursing as a Nurse Anesthetist and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. She has worked in a variety of settings, though the biggest impact on Kim and her work came from her 28 years of service in the Navy Reserve.

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