4 Reasons To Try Acupuncture For Anxiety

Posted on: 28 April 2019

Acupuncture is a scary word for many because it conjures up images of a human body filled with needles. But the truth is much less scary. Acupuncture is an historic and respected traditional Chinese treatment for balancing a person's life force and flow of energy through the studied placement of needles into specific energy points. Scientific studies have shown that it can provide many health benefits, specifically in the treatment of anxiety. If you feel chronic anxiety, here are four reasons to give acupuncture treatment a try. 

Lowers Heart Rate

Acupuncture can help lower a person's heart rate, particularly those suffering from anxiety and depression. In one double blind and sham-controlled study, thirty-six randomized mildly depressed or anxious patients were given either traditional acupuncture treatments using traditional protocol or sham acupuncture treatments along points believed to have no beneficial effect. The result was a significantly lower heart rate in the group given traditional treatments but no result in the sham group. A high heart rate is often associated with panic attacks and general anxiety. Through the careful placement of needles along specific energy and nerve points in the body, a trained acupuncturist can help reduce those panicked feelings that contribute to a high heart rate.

Increases Endorphins

In addition to reducing your heart rate, one study demonstrated that acupuncture can also stimulate the release of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that are produced in the central nervous system. Their principle function is to inhibit the body's pain signals to the brain. This often results in a feeling of euphoria. Exercise is a common way to stimulate the release of euphoric endorphins. However, as this study has shown, acupuncture can also release these chemicals, which play an important role in regulating emotional and physical stress.

Reduces Activity in the Hypothalamus

Another benefit of acupuncture, demonstrated in the results of one scientific study, is reduced activity in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is an area of the brain that releases neurochemicals when the brain is stimulated by stress and fear, common emotions suffered by those with anxiety. This study shows that acupuncture can calm this hypothalamic response, reducing the severity of those feelings.

Improves Heart Rate Variability

Our heart doesn't beat steadily like a metronome. Instead, it fluctuates based on responses to our environment. This is called heart rate variability or HRV. A higher rate of response in your HRV is associated with better physical and mental health. In the same study that showed a reduction in the hypothalamus activity of the brain, there were also results in the improvement of HRV through acupuncture, thereby reducing stress and anxiety.

For more information about acupuncture treatment, reach out to a local acupuncture provider.