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Anxiety – What Is It?
Anxiety is a type of emotion in which one feels overwhelmed, worried or uneasy. Presently, anxiety has different names in western medicine although all of them share certain common attributes.
The Symptoms and Signs of Anxiety
- Over worrying/over-thinking
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Tightening of the chest
- Feeling difficulty in breathing properly
What is the Western Mode of Treatment for Anxiety?
To help deal with anxiety, Western medicine uses anti-anxiety drugs to inhibit the emotion signals going to the brain.
The problem with this is that the root cause of the anxiety is not being addressed, just the symptoms. This usually implies that the problem will come back once you cease taking the drug.
Treating Anxiety with Pain-Free Acupuncture
Acupuncture is one of the most effective, pain-free, and safest forms of treatment for both the symptoms and underlying cause of anxiety. Acupuncturists usually target 3 main organ systems when it comes to treating anxiety. These are the kidneys, spleen and liver.
The kidneys, according to Chinese medicine are associated with coolness and water in our body. The coolness keeps the heat from rising and causes the mind to relax. Weak kidneys can mean that the coolness is not sufficient enough making the heat rise. When heat goes to the top of our body, it affects the mind and heart resulting in anxiety.
Moreover, kidneys are associated with the feelings of fear which means that when fear rises in us, the kidneys become weak which can result in anxiety.
A weak or deficient spleen leads to a lesser ability of breaking down the foods that we eat. If the body has a hard time breaking down or digesting foods, it does not produce new quality blood. If there is not enough quality blood in our body, the heart becomes tired and weak which affects the entire body. Consequently, a tired and worn out body makes us more susceptible to feelings of anxiety.
Our cells receive information, nutrients and energy through the liver. This organ is the first to be affected by high/low emotions and stress as well as drug abuse and alcohol. The liver tenses up when we feel stressed out. When it tenses, the flow of information, nutrients and energy start to stagnate.
The organs and cells are not getting the proper amount of nutrients information to operate efficiently which causes our body to become imbalanced. An imbalanced body can make it susceptible to feelings of anxiety.
A person with liver imbalance usually feels all emotionally wound up causing him/her to be easily frustrated and irritated; moreover, the person often tends to suppress it. The bottling up of their emotions causes stagnation and heat resulting in anxiety.
With acupuncture, the heat and stagnation can be resolved and the health of the person starts to improve since the hormones, energy and nutrients are now flowing much better in the body.
Anxiety Acupressure Points
You can apply pressure yourself on certain acupuncture points to address the feelings of anxiety. You should know though that acupressure in no way is an equally effective alternative to professional acupuncture diagnosis and treatment of anxiety that are always different for each person.
Acupressure can be actually an ideal adjunct to acupuncture therapy because it enables you to maintain the benefits derived from acupuncture in between acupuncture sessions. It is a procedure you can perform on yourself and is an excellent adjunct to acupuncture treatments.
Using your finger, apply pressure to the following points for two to three minutes each day or whenever you feel anxious:
Sanyinjiao (sp 6)
Function: to calm the mind, fortify blood and coolness and strengthen stomach/ spleen.
Neiguan (Pc 6)
Function: to calm the mind, clear the head, and clear pain and stagnation.
These current times have seen an increasing awareness in the mental health problem known as post-traumatic stress disorder or more commonly known as PTSD. The wars that the United States have created and have been involved in have greatly contributed to the rise of this condition in US soldiers although people who have long endured physical or sexual abuse and violence have also been afflicted with this condition. PTSD is more likely to occur in people who have undergone life-threatening and traumatic experiences. The event usually arises when the sufferer relives the feeling and pain related to the memories. PTSD sufferers likewise demonstrate symptoms of irritability, depression, hyper-arousal and a sense of constant danger among others. Psychotherapies and drugs are the conventional modes of treatment for PTSD; alternative therapies have, however, been shown to greatly also help treat the symptoms of PTSD.
One growing option for treating PTSD is acupuncture, a type of treatment that has been used to treat dozens of various conditions. This treatment involves the insertion of very thin needles into certain points in the body known as acupuncture points to help resolve different kinds of emotional and physical problems. A pilot clinical study performed by a number of researchers lasting three months tested either group cognitive-behavioral therapy or acupuncture as modes of intervention for people with PTSD symptoms. People of another group who served as the control group were placed on a waitlist to undergo treatment. Both group cognitive-behavioral therapies and acupuncture where shown to be very effective in treating PTSD compared to the absence of intervention, according to the researchers. They recommended for more studies to be done regarding this outcome although they agreed that acupuncture can indeed be an effective treatment for PTSD symptoms.
Yoga and general massage therapy are also becoming popular alternatives for PTSD, based on a Massage Today article. A psychologist did a study in 2008 that integrated these two therapies as well as others as main treatments for PTSD-diagnosed soldiers at the Restoration and Resilience Center in Fort Bliss. After the treatment, the patients were able and eager to go back to service. Other introspective and unique therapies such as Qigong utilize intense focus, breathing techniques and physical postures that brought positive results on soldiers. The Center was able to lessen the number of drugs taken by the soldiers, thanks to these integrated alternative therapies. They helped the soldiers become relaxed and also helped them to function normally in their present lives.
The conventional mode of treatment for PTSD since the 1900s was medication as well as forms of group and individual therapy. It is very good news to know that alternative forms of treatment like yoga therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture have proven as equally, if not more than, effective in the treatment of PTSD. Moreover, the likelihood for medical malpractice is considerably less for patients who have opted for alternative modes of treatment.
Photo credit: (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andrew Johnston)