There’s no doubt about it – modern life is stressful! Every day we’re bombarded with more information in more ways than at any other point in human history and our brains have to try to handle it all. Add this to a job, the fluctuating stock market, traffic, elevated tuition costs, and juggling the needs of your family and it’s not hard to see why anxiety is an increasingly common issue for which Americans are seeking care. It is estimated by the National Institute of Mental Health that approximately 40 million American adults now suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. 1 The resulting reduction of quality of life that accompanies most anxiety disorders can impact everything from work and relationships, to immune response and physical health.
While the living conditions in Ancient China were clearly very different from what we experience today, it is likely that they were not much less stressful. The living conditions were exceedingly harsh and many of the things that we now consider to be minor annoyances could be life-threatening. The early physicians were acutely aware that many different forms of stress had the capacity to affect the health of the body, and they regarded emotional stress to be among the most important factors that could weaken the body and ultimately increase vulnerability to disease. As science has taught us more about how chronically elevated stress can affect the body, we now take it for granted that this is the case. 2
While there are several ways in which acupuncture can impact anxiety, as a patient there is one factor that is the most important point to understand. Psychology has provided some fantastic tools for grasping at the underlying factors contributing to anxiety issues. This is an invaluable tool for long term success, but it can often be true that even after periods of counseling there may still be lingering anxiety triggers that are making progress difficult for some people. This is because the stress response affects several processes in the brain, some of them conscious, others completely automatic and seemingly outside of our control. Acupuncture is a great means to address the second type; the automatic factors that occur very much like a knee-jerk reflex. The presence of needles in properly selected acupuncture points can serve to improve the communication between the mind and the body. It is this relationship that is often disrupted during longstanding stress or anxiety, and which can impede the progress toward a more complete resolution. In essence, while it can be incredibly important to change the way one thinks in order to overcome longer term anxiety, when paired with acupuncture, which can have significant impacts upon how a patient feels without the need for medications with uncomfortable side effects, the progress can often occur much more quickly and completely.
If you have been struggling through anxiety issues, whether long term or short term, or if you’re just plain stressed out, acupuncture can often help you better adapt to life’s challenges and experience a calmer, more balanced day-to-day existence. If you are located in the Milwaukee, Brookfield, or Waukesha, WI areas and have more questions or are interested in pursuing treatment, please click here to visit my main page.