Acupuncture Provides Effective Relief for Anxiety

Dr Bryan Articles


Anxiety and depressive disorders are an all too common experience in today’s society. Statistics show that 1 in 5 Australians will experience some form of mental illness in a year, and the rates of prescriptive medications for these illnesses grows astronomically every year – with a 95.3% increase in the prescriptions of antidepressants from 2000 to 2011.

There is no doubt that stress, anxiety, depression, and associated symptoms can be a huge challenge for many of us.



Acupuncture has been found many times over to be an effective treatment for depressive and anxiety disorders. Recent studies have found acupuncture to be more effective in relieving anxiety and depression than tricyclic antidepressants. Even more impressive, acupuncture is able to do so without the associated side-effects.

So how does acupuncture help? In TCM the emotional state is intrinsically linked to a person’s physical and functional health. There is no separating them. The ‘Shen’ (mind or consciousness) is the most insubstantial of physical forms, and must be properly anchored and nourished by the physical body. Imagine our conscious state as smoke floating from an incense stick; if the stick is held still, the smoke will be steady and calm. If the incense stick is waved about or poorly held together, the smoke will become agitated and unpredictable. It is the same with our Mind. If the Shen becomes agitated, it will give rise to symptoms of anxiety and mental tension.

These symptoms need to be addressed on many levels. How is your diet? Do you have enough emotional and social support? What are your exercise habits? And then, in the context of all these factors, what internal functions are out of balance and need correcting? This is where acupuncture and herbal therapy steps in. No factor is less important than the others.

Acupuncture itself has a very calming effect. Personally, this was what got me hooked. I remember after one of my first acupuncture sessions as a teenager, I was walking the 20 minutes or so home. I arrived home and suddenly realized, “Hey I haven’t been thinking this whole time!’ I was blissfully in the moment and relaxed, without that constant mental chatter (mostly negative) that I was so used to. Many of my patients report the same benefits, along with better sleep, and a deeper sense of groundedness.


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