Anxiety; we’ve all experienced it. It crops up alongside major life events like medical procedures, opening night, final exams, blind dates, important deadlines, and dream job interviews. This is all normal and the feeling generally goes away once the major event has passed. However for some people, this feeling of anxiety crops up on a daily basis. They may have chest pains, shortness of breath, insomnia, restlessness, tingling or numbness, dizziness, dry mouth, fear, palpitations, stomach pains, excessive sweating, nausea, and constriction in their throat. They get overwhelmed with worry and it can be paralyzing. It affects their lives and they suffer. Don’t suffer anymore, if this describes you, schedule an appointment with your doctor and get checked out. Then read on about how acupuncture helps anxiety and calms your mind.
How Acupuncture Helps Anxiety
Acupuncture, regardless of which points are used, brings the body back to balance. It triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing your system to calm down to normal operating levels. Each person will have a different set of symptoms, so an individualized set of points are used based on what they are experiencing at the time of assessment. However, there are some more commonly used points that I’ll mention here. You can massage any of the points I mention here if you want to try to soothe yourself.
Liver 3 (Lv 3 – Taichong)
This point is found between your 1st and 2nd metatarsals just below (distal to) where they meet. It has many uses including calming anger, irritability, stress, and anxiety. It encourages the smooth flow of emotion. It can benefit your eyes, and resolve certain types of headaches. It is a frequently used point.
Heart 7 (Ht-7 Shenmen)
Heart 7 is used especially when the patient experiences palpitations, insomnia, and/or dream disturbed sleep. As shown in the picture, this point is found at the wrist crease, just on the inside of the tendon found there. It is often paired with Pc-6, another commonly used point.
Our ears are a microcosm or miniature representation of the human body. Every aspect of our body is represented somewhere on the ear. Acupuncturists may use needles to stimulate some points on the ear in conjunction with the body needles and may send patients home with ear seeds taped to certain points. Patients can then rub these seeds and stimulate the point whenever they wish.
Here are some self-care ideas to help you soothe your anxiety:
- Exercise: 30 minutes of brisk walking each day is a great way to start. Find some physical activity you enjoy and do it regularly.
- Eat healthy foods: Fill your plate with vegetables every chance you get. Eat some meat, eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds, and plenty of healthy fats (coconut oil for cooking, olive oil for drizzling, avocados for devouring). Avoid processed food.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and recreational drugs: these only exacerbate the problem.
- Simplify your life: Eliminate unnecessary commitments and end relationships that are not beneficial.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Yoga, meditation and visualization.
- Make sleep a priority.
- Get help from a psychologist: learn some techniques to cope with people and/or situations that trigger your anxiety. Get to the root of the problem.
- Join a support group.
- Journal about your experiences.
- Go out and socialize, don’t isolate yourself. Ask your friends and family for help.