Occasional feeling of anxiety is regarded as normal in a healthy individual. However, people with anxiety disorders often have intense, excessive worry and irrational fear about everyday situations.

Anxiety can be either chronic or acute. Common symptoms of Anxiety include panic attacks, increased heart rates, difficulty breathing, dry mouth, feelings of impending disaster, chest pain, dizziness, shaking, nausea, and diminished mental clarity.

Common anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder (social phobia), obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. Sometimes, anxiety results from medical conditions such as adrenal gland fatigue, food allergies, poor blood sugar control, substance abuse (caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine) and nutrient deficiencies.

According to the theory of Chinese medicine, anxiety is usually the result of shen (spirit) disturbance. The Heart is responsible for “housing the Shen” and is said to dominate our emotional balance. So when the heart is not functioning optimally, we may feel emotionally sensitive and imbalance in our spirit, consciousness, thinking, memory and sleep.

The Liver is responsible for the free flow of the Qi (energy) in our bodies. When the liver Qi becomes stagnant, we may feel angry, frustrated, and easily irritated.

The Spleen is the dominating influence on our digestion to give our body the nourishment is needs. If your Spleen is not functioning well, you may experience poor digestion, dry mouth, constant worry, nausea, & low energy.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments for anxiety focus to rebalance function and qi and blood circulation to these organs to generate a cool, calm, and collected feeling, and to improve your sleeping quality and immunity. They can be used together with psychotherapy or medications you are receiving.

In addition, lifestyle changes also can make a difference. Here’s what you can do:

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is a very effective stress reducer. Exercise improves your mood and help you stay healthy; improve the circulation of your qi and blood. Practicing Qigong, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety.
  • Quit smoking and reducing the intake of coffee. Both nicotine and caffeine can worsen anxiety.
  • Avoid alcohol and other sedatives. These substances can worsen anxiety.
  • Have high quality of sleep. Get enough quality sleep. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may improve your sleep and reduce anxiety.
  • Eat healthy. Healthy eating is very important for the management of anxiety. According to the theory of Chinese medicine deep- fried, fatty, sugary and processed foods may increase toxic heat and phlegm and cause qi and blood stagnation in your body that may worsen your anxiety. Food selection may be also based on clinical pattern of your anxiety condition. Food dietary nutrition based on Chinese medicine theory please refer to Chinese Medicine Nutrition.

A program using acupuncture along with other proven treatment methods for managing anxiety has proven successful at the Dr. Xie’s acupuncture clinic. To find out if this program is right for you, please contact Dr. Xie (Dr. J) at (847) 630-8798.