According to the ADAA, (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 18% of the population 18 years and older. Anxiety levels can be very mild to very severe, but they’re all normal body responses to something that actually is threatening your well being or is perceived to be threatening your well being. Either way, real or appearing to be real, any specific situation of fear or concern can cause an anxiety symptom which usually lasts for the short time a threat remains imminent, with a more serious life-or-death threat lasting much longer. Those are normal anxious feelings that anyone may experience and ones that will eventually pass. But when you feel anxiety without a clear reason for doing so, or the reasons that make you feel that way just don’t make sense, then this can be unpleasantly overwhelming and must be treated as soon as possible.
Your body has many different ways of sending you recognizable messages when you’re feeling anxious, such as a trembling, shaking or twitching reaction. You might have trouble sleeping or concentrating, you might experience a feeling of dizziness, become lightheaded, or breath heavily with your heart “racing out of your chest.” Add to these symptoms a change in your overall demeanor that may have you hyper and on edge, or just feeling annoyed and worried that something bad is about to happen. Whatever you may be experiencing at the time might have you prepared to do anything to make it all go away. But, believe it or not, these are all common reactions to a situation that may present itself for a short time; but when the situation no longer exists, yet the symptoms continue on to disrupt your daily life, it’s time to take care of yourself and treat this as a serious problem. Initially, seeking a counselor or therapist to assist you with coping may help at some level, but you must realize that therapy deals with your cognitive behaviors, such as problem solving and things relating to thoughts, behaviors and relationships. Although necessary to help you deal with your perceptions, a visit to your acupuncturist will focus on the nervous system to alleviate the symptoms on a physical level. And if your problem is a severe one, it might be prudent to employ both methods simultaneously.
Acupuncture works to help calm your two-part nervous system, both sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic part of the nervous system deals with your physical and mental reactions to danger, whether real or imagined, and is sometimes referred to as the “fight or flight” nervous system. The parasympathetic part of your nervous system is loosely referred to as the “rest and digest” system, responsible for the stimulation of activities that occur when the body is at rest, such as after eating, sexual arousal, salivation, defecation, and other normal body reactions associated with everyday life. The acupuncturist knows the specific points of the body, including the ear, that will help calm the sympathetic nervous system and shift it to parasympathetic, allowing you to return to normal activities feeling calm and relaxed. Because of the effect an acupuncture treatment has on the entire nervous system, it not only helps you with the specific feeling of anxiety that brought you to the acupuncturist’s office in the first place, but with everything else that’s normally inhibited during that time. It improves sleep, digestion, blood pressure, concentration, and many more things of that nature.
If anxiety is something that you’ve been struggling with daily, you may need to begin with acupuncture treatments one or two times a week for a period of about six weeks. You can opt for private sessions with treatments tailored to your specific needs or participate in more affordable group ear sessions, where the treatments target the anxiety and stress symptoms common to most individuals. Or, as a third choice, you can create a treatment schedule that mixes them both. Whatever way you and your acupuncturist agree upon, freeing yourself from the debilitating confines of anxiety can be an exhilarating experience.