The constant deluge of anxiety symptoms can really wear a person down, so much so that he or she may resort to desperate measures to find relief. Some people believe that the ancient practice of acupuncture may be among these “desperate measures,” and results from scientific studies have been mixed. Read on to learn more about acupuncture, and whether it is the right treatment for your anxiety.
Acupuncture is a well-known alternative health remedy for a variety of health problems, one of the most common being anxiety. This age-old medical practice has roots in China where its practitioners placed sterilized needles on points of the body that were believed to aid in the relief or cure of different ailments. To the ancient Chinese and many practitioners today, acupuncture works by balancing
Qi in the body, which is required for it function at its full efficiency. Studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture have been mixed to say the least, and there is even less known on its specific effects, if any, on anxiety. There has been one specific study that shows acupuncture can reduce stress for mothers whose children are going into surgery, which in turn alleviates stress on their children. However, there are also many studies that show no usefulness or acupuncture whatsoever. At this point in time, the scientific community is neutral on the benefits of anxiety. If you’re interested in acupuncture, it might be well worth your time to try it a few times to see if you derive any benefits from it. In the mean time, there are a variety of other treatments that you can try to defeat your anxiety.
Exercise and nutrition are both vital components of any anxiety-reducing strategy. The Center for Disease Control’s food plate states that people should get most of their calories from fruits, vegetables and whole grain, with only small amount of fat. Drinking plenty of water also has many health benefits, including suppressing your appetite and helping you to avoid other drinks that may be harmful to your anxiety. If you’re truly committed to overcome your anxiety, you should limit the amount of caffeine you take in, as it is a stimulant that can worsen anxiety symptoms. Also, try to get plenty of exercise. Sitting on the couch in front of the television all day is bad for your body and your mind, and cardiovascular exercise aids in the release of feel-good endorphins. Yoga is another type of exercise to check out as it also releases anxiety-fighting chemicals in the brain.
If for some reason you can’t participate in physical activity in the near future, you can always try massage. Massage can also promote the release of “feel-good” chemicals, as well as reducing the knots of muscle tension that so many anxiety sufferers live with. The most relaxing type of massage is the Swedish massage, and it’s probably the massage for beginners. Deep tissue massage is reserved for specific areas of the body that are chronically tense, but it can be intense.
Finally, cognitive-behavioral therapy has shown to be very beneficial for anxiety sufferers. This type of therapy can help you identify and address cognitive distortions that may be leading to your anxiety, and learn to how think realistically. Your therapist can also teach you relaxation strategies, such as meditation and progressive relaxation that help you learn how to be more mindful and relaxed in your daily life. The ability to relax at will is a powerful tool that will serve you well as you deal with the everyday stresses of your life.
“Acupuncture Calms Mom’s Stress, Anxiety.” WebMd. <http://www.webmd.com> 20 Jan 2012.