Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health issues worldwide.
Just as anxiety tends to disrupt routines, getting into a routine can lower anxiety. Routines allow us to be more efficient, to spend less time thinking or worrying about what needs to be done and more time just doing it. This then opens up time to relax and better enjoy our lives.
Did you know that your body is so finely tuned into a circadian rhythm that there are particular times of the day when it is better to eat, sleep and be productive? Chinese medicine sets out a guide to healthy living by living in tune with your body’s rhythms and cycles. There are recognised two-hour periods throughout the day when qi (energy) is at its peak in each organ system and can help us think more clearly, digest better and sleep more deeply. Creating a routine that follows this system can make life feel more predictable and provide a sense of order and control, this reduces stress and anxiety and can help you become more productive as you go with the flow of your body clock. To find out more about how your body clock works come along to my Flow Well, Stress Less seminar that I hold regularly throughout the year.
Chinese medicine works holistically, recognising the mind-body connection and treating the whole person – body, mind, emotions and spirit. The intention in treatment is to correct any physical imbalances that might allow your anxiety to continue. As research continues, acupuncture is gradually being proven to be a legitimate treatment for anxiety and depression as well as many other illnesses. Research has shown that acupuncture can help ease anxiety by acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry.
In a comprehensive literature review appearing in CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, it was proven that acupuncture is comparable to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which psychologists commonly use to treat anxiety. Results of another experimental study on acupuncture in patients with minor depressive episodes and generalized anxiety indicated that acupuncture leads to a significant clinical improvement as well as to a remarkable reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Acupuncture generally gives immediate results of relaxation. Feelings of anxiety tend to reduce within 24 hours of treatment and with regular treatments your sense of relaxation will last longer and longer. Often there are other health issues that contribute to your anxiety and Acupuncture can also address these issues to help reduce your anxiety.
Acupuncture provides many benefits that are important to those living with anxiety:
- Re-balancing the body’s parasympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (fight and flight) nervous system
- Reducing stress hormones in the body such as cortisol and epinephrine
- Reducing tension and promoting deep relaxation of the body
- Calming the mind and body and so improving emotional wellbeing
Chinese medicine recognises that different people require different treatments, even when suffering from the same condition. As it is a holistic form of medicine, treatment often includes acupuncture, herbs, diet and lifestyle counselling. Due to the often complex interplay of both mental and physical symptoms, it is also recommended that you complement your acupuncture treatments with a psychological therapy of some description.
The experience of having acupuncture can be pleasant, relaxing and energizing and each treatment is tailored directly to your personal needs. Once an initial weekly treatment course is completed an ongoing wellness program has been found to be beneficial as life can throw challenges at you regularly. So find your local practitioner and take another step along your road to well being today as mental health really does matter.