Can Acupuncture Help Anxiety, Stress and Depression?
The short answer to this question is yes it may. Acupuncture has been shown to benefit those with anxiety, depression and stress.
Anxiety - A review found acupuncture to have potential use for the treatment of anxiety and another review acupuncture to provide statistically significant benefits in treating anxiety.
Depression (with Medication) - Acupuncture was found to have “Evidence of Potential Positive Effect” for tthe management of depression when used alongside normal pharmaceutical management.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - The US Veteran affairs review reported a potentially positive effect and a subsequent RCT released in 2015 reported that acupuncture plus usual care superior to usual care in PTSD severity, depression, pain and physical and mental functioning .
Acupuncture was also found to be helpful in providing support to insomnia sufferers, schizophrenics (alongside usual care) and those experiencing pre-treatment anxiety.
Acupuncture for Anxiety, Depression and Stress Treatment
How we approach the treatment sessions for our clients can vary, but generally after you fill in a form we will sit down and have a chat about your circumstances. An example of some typical questions we may ask are included below.
What steps are you taking for your mental health?
Who are you currently seeing such as your GP, Psychologist and/or Psychiatrist?
What if any medication you are taking?
What self care strategies do you have in place?
We will also ask you some general questions to get an overview of your overall health. We may look at your tongue and take your pulse and even palpate your tummy and any areas of tightness or soreness. After this we will come up with a treatment plan and provide some treatment which we will discuss with you.
3 Tips for Anxiety Management
3 common sense tips for the self management of anxiety, depression and stress we often suggest for our acupuncture clients are:
Maintaining Social Engagement - Many of the clients we see mention that they have started to socially withdraw from their friends, family and acquaintances. Sometimes this can be the result of avoidant behaviour due to social situations spiking anxiety, in other cases it can be such a subtle process that it could be months before you realise you haven't connected with friends and family for some time. Humans are social and gregarious creatures and engaging with others can have a positive effect on our mental health. By ensuring we have regular contact with our trusted friends and family, we can ensure that we can have people to share our difficulties with and are supported in our more difficult times. It is amazing how sometimes how having a shoulder to lean on can lessen our own burdens.
Daily Mindfulness - I am sure you have come across mentions of various apps, CD'S (in the age of those ;) ) and classes you should follow up on. You may have good intentions of starting something maybe next week, or after the kids go back to school, or just after this busy period during work. Lets be honest, mindfulness is so accessible there are very few valid reasons to not give it a try. Almost everyone has a smartphone and some headphones. There are a number of apps out there that can help. We have outlined 3 apps we are familiar with, pick one and take 5 minutes out and try a session today. Heck, try it daily for a week and see if you feel different.
Smiling Mind: This Australian designed app is very popular , especially with many school aged kids as it is used in many schools. This app is completely free and has mindfulness sessions that vary from a few minutes up to 20 mins are in an Australian accented voice. We often use this one in the clinic.
Insight Timer: This is a favourite with the clinic owner who uses this as his daily app. This app is also free and it contains a searchable database of various mindfulness and meditation sessions for your to do varying from 0-5 minute up to 30 minutes or more. It also allows you to bookmark a particular session to come back and use again
Headspace: This is a subscription based app and has a wide variety of mindfulness sessions. Many of which are themed such as mindfulness for anxiety or running or pain. They have a free 7 day trial when you download this app to your phone. A protip is to search for a discount code to use in checkout for a reduced subscription fee.
Diet - Another area to address is your diet. Are you drinking too much coffee, alcohol and eating too much junk? If so, this may be an area of self care to work on. Will it cure your anxiety? Probably not, but it is an area that could be having a deleterious affect upon your mental health. Especially if your drinking has gone from once a week to a few heavy sessions a week. Are the palpitations you are having from your anxiety, or are they from the 4 triple shot espressos you had before noon? We suggest monitoring your alcohol and caffeine intake and where possible to put some planning in place for your meals so you can make more health conscious choices.
If not already in the picture we will refer people to their GP to assess their eligibility to develop a mental health plan. We will advise against ceasing any medication without your treating physicians monitoring and being involved in your decision making progress.
Our Melbourne Acupuncture Clinic
Based in Melbourne, the Coburg Acupuncture clinic is located in the heart of Coburg on Sydney Rd and provides Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage and cupping services. The Coburg Clinic services people from Coburg and surrounding Northern suburbs such as Brunswick, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Fawkner, Thornbury, Northcote. We have a special interest in working with musculoskeletal and pain disorders, anxiety, stress, IVF and women's health.
Call us to arrange an appointment on 03 9041 6569 or click the button below
McDonald, John & Janz, Stephen. (2016). The Acupuncture Evidence Project : A Comparative Literature Review (Revised). Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, Coorparoo