Anxiety is a persistent feeling of dread, worry, apprehension, tension or uneasiness in the body and mind. Anxiety related disorders include generalized anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms may be long term and be worsened by stress. Often anxiety can have an extreme negative effect on quality of life, work, and ability to function in society.

Simple ‘at home’ remedies for anxiety include yoga, meditation, focused abdominal breathing and exercise, and the use of essential oils of lavender, ylang ylang, lemon balm, and clary sage. Consuming a diet rich in B vitamins and leafy green vegetables can help as well.

Acupuncture has been used for various types of anxiety disorders from generalized anxiety to preoperative anxiety. Acupuncture directly calms the nervous system, increases brain chemicals related to relaxation (like melatonin and endorphins), and resets the autonomic nervous system (the unconscious nervous function that regulates stress and relaxation).

Research has consistently shown that acupuncture works just as well as pharmaceutical intervention for anxiety disorders, without risk of dependency or side effects common with anti-anxiety drugs. A review of research regarding acupuncture and anxiety found “All trials reported positive findings…(for acupuncture effects). Anxiety was generally improved and the initial indications are that acupuncture, specifically auricular acupuncture, is more effective than acupuncture at shampoints and may be as effective as drug therapy in this situation. “

[1] Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Cummings M, Richardson J. Acupuncture for anxiety and anxiety disorders--a systematic literature review. Acupunct Med. 2007 Jun;25(1-2):1-10

[2] D. Warren Spence, M.A., Leonid Kayumov, Ph.D., DABSM, Adam Chen, Ph.D., Alan Lowe, M.D., Umesh Jain, M.D., Martin A. Katzman, M.D., Jianhua Shen, M.D., Boris Perelman, Ph.D. and Colin M. Shapiro, MBBCh, Ph.D., FRCP(C) Acupuncture Increases Nocturnal Melatonin Secretion and Reduces Insomnia and Anxiety: A Preliminary Report. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 16:19-28, February 200