Anxiety and stress acupuncture, essendon

Reduce anxiety and stress levels now, all naturally and without side effects

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introduction

Anxiety is an overarching term used to describe a group of mental health conditions that have some similar characteristics, all falling under anxiety disorders. These include generalised anxiety, social anxiety, specific phobias(eg agoraphobia), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). 

This group of anxiety disorders have some similar features - you have fears or thoughts that are chronic (as opposed to only lasting brief periods), the thoughts are distressing, and they interfere with your normal life (Better Health channel, 2018). Anxiety is more than a feeling of being stressed or worried. These are normal reactions to a situation where we feel under pressure, and the feelings will usually pass when the pressure is taken away (Beyond Blue, 2018). Anxiety, on the other hand, is when the feelings persist after the stressful situation has finished, or they come on for no apparent reason.

The symptoms of anxiety can be varied, and include:

  • Physical - panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, palpitations (feeling your heart in your chest), racing pulse, chest tightness, shortness of breath, rapid or pressured breathing, restlessness, feeling tense, would up or on edge.

  • Psychological - obsessive thinking, excessive fear or worry, catastrophizing, disturbed sleep, racing thoughts, feeling disconnected

  • Behavioural - avoiding situations that might make you anxious, such as social events, study or work

(Beyond Blue, 2018)

What this leads to is you not really feeling yourself, and you're not able to do the things you would normally do. When you have racing thoughts, restlessness, and are worrying all the time, it is difficult to go to work, to see friends socially, or spend time with your family.

But if you are feeling this way, you're not alone. Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health condition in Australia, with an estimated 2 million Australians experiencing symptoms of anxiety every year (Beyond Blue, 2018). 

 

Anxiety and Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the body and the mind as inextricably linked, so when one is affected, the other will be too. This can very clearly be seen with anxiety as you get both the physical and psychological symptoms. There is also a focus in TCM on not just the symptoms you may be feeling, but also the underlying condition that has led to those symptoms arising. By taking both aspects into account, it creates a more complete treatment, allowing your body and mind to return to a more balanced state.

Recent research has shown that acupuncture can be a safe and effective treatment for anxiety. The Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald, J. & Janz, S., 2017, p.39) found that there is moderate to high quality evidence of a positive effect on anxiety levels by acupuncture. Another systematic review by Amorim et al. (2018) found there is good scientific evidence for acupuncture (including electroacupuncture) in treating anxiety disorders, and that they have fewer side effects than conventional treatment. Auricular (ear) acupuncture was also found to be able to reduce anxiety in a group of health care providers who were experiencing work related stress (Buchanan et al., 2018). 

In terms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a 2014 narrative review has found that acupuncture has generally demonstrated positive effects on reducing GAD (Bazzan et al., 2014). GAD is the term given to anxiety that extends to a number of areas of your life and can't be traced to any specific event or situation, and is one of the more common diagnoses (Mayo Clinic, 2017; Beyond Blue, 2018). 

In more specific settings, a number of studies have found that acupuncture can be used to reduce stress and anxiety in the lead up to and following surgery, in what would be considered a relatively high stress situation. Quinlan-Woodward et al. (2016) found that women who received acupuncture after having a mastectomy reported a greater reduction in anxiety, as well as nausea and pain, and an increase in the ability to cope, on the day following their surgery. In another study of 112 patients awaiting neurosurgery, acupuncture at a single point was found to reduce anxiety prior to them being anaesthetised (Wiles et al., 2017). And in a meta-analysis study that was comparing real acupuncture with sham acupuncture (Bae et al., 2014), it was found that patients who received the real acupuncture had a greater reduction in their anxiety before going into surgery.

 

what to expect in a treatment

An initial consultation will last about 60 minutes, with follow up appointments lasting between 45-60 minutes. In your initial appointment, I will ask about all aspects of how anxiety affects you, including physically, mentally and emotionally. I will also ask about other aspects of your health and lifestyle, and then have a feel of your pulse and have a look at your tongue. This will give me a more complete picture of not only how the anxiety is affecting you, but also what the underlying condition is that has brought it about. This allows for a more thorough treatment that will get rid of your current symptoms, as well as reducing the likelihood of them returning. 

We will then get to the acupuncture treatment. For most people acupuncture is a very relaxing experience, with a lot of people falling asleep on the table. I use very fine acupuncture needles, about the same thickness as a human hair. You may feel a small pinch as the needle is inserted, and afterwards you may feel the area getting warm, or feel a slight heaviness in the area, or most likely you will not feel anything. My aim is to get you feeling as comfortable as possible, so then a can leave you to completely relax and let the needles do their work. I'll let you rest with the needles in for about 30 minutes.

After the session, I'll check in with you to see how you're feeling, and I may give you some dietary or lifestyle advice, small changes you can easily make in your life to help you get the most out of the treatment. I may also prescribe either Chinese herbs or Western natural medicines for you to take in-between appointments.

 

To book your acupuncture appointment today, please call the clinic on 9337 8572. If you have any questions or queries, please don't hesitate to get in touch at lachlan@essendonnaturalhealth.com.au

 

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References

Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S.M., Amorim, N., Costeira, C. & Machado, J. (2018). Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 31, 31-37. 

Bae, H., Bae, H., Min, B-I. & Cho, S. (2014). Efficacy of acupuncture in reducing preoperative anxiety: A meta-analysis. Evidence- Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/850367.

Bazzan, A.J., Zabrecky, G., Monti, D.A. & Newberg A.B. (2014). Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 14 (4), 411-423. 

Better Health Channel (2018). Anxiety Disorders. [Online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/anxiety-disorders [Accessed 21 May 2018]. 

Beyond Blue (2018). Anxiety: The facts. [Online] Available at: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/anxiety [Accessed 21 May 2018]. 

Beyond Blue (2018). Anxiety: Signs and symptoms. [Online] Available at: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/signs-and-symptoms [Accessed 21 May 2018]. 

Beyond Blue (2018). Anxiety: Treatments for anxiety. [Online] Available at: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/treatments-for-anxiety [Accessed 21 May 2018]. 

Buchanan, T., Reilly, P., Vafides, C. & Dykes, P. (2018). Reducing anxiety and improving engagement in health care providers through an auricular acupuncture intervention. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 37 (2), 87-96. 

Mayo Clinic (2017). Generalised Anxiety Disorder. [Online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes [Accessed 26 May 2018].

McDonald, J. & Janz, S. (2017). The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A comparative literature review (Revised Edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd.

Quinlan-Woodward, J., Gode, A., Dusek, J.A., Reinstein, A.S., Johnson, J.R. & Sendelbach, S. (2016). Assessing the impact of acupuncture on pain, nausea, anxiety, and coping in women undergoing a mastectomy. Oncology Nursing Forum, 43 (6), 725-732. 

Wiles, M.D., Mamdani,J., Pullman, M. & Andrezjowski, J.C. (2017). A randomised controlled trial examining the effect of acupuncture at the EX-HN3 (Yintang) point on pre-operative anxiety levels in neurosurgical patients. Anaesthesia, 72 (3), 335-342.