Tag Archive for: anxiety

Anxiety is a psychological and physiological response characterized by feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease about a perceived or anticipated threat, situation, or event. 

We all experience anxiety in some form, at one point or another. Whether it be worry about your children as they decide to spend the summer away from home, an unsettling conversation with your boss, or even what kind of food to eat.

The possibilities are endless! Although it’s a normal human emotion, when it begins to interfere with daily life, it may be time to seek treatment. 

Anxiety can manifest as physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, or gastrointestinal disturbances.

Other cognitive symptoms like racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, or catastrophizing may also arise. It can be triggered by various factors including stress, uncertainty, trauma, or even a genetic predisposition.

Western interventions for anxiety are often hit or miss in that they have capacity to help alleviate acute symptoms but can sometimes lead to MORE anxiety in the long run. In fact, some studies show that benzodiazepines, a common anti-anxiety medication, actually can cause more anxiety for patients in the long run.

Now, this isn’t always true and the purpose of this blog isn’t to bash Western medicine…But we do want to shed light on a few of the many interventions that are far less risky!

Acupuncture, rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote balance. While it may sound intimidating at first, many find it to be a gentle and soothing experience, with minimal discomfort.

How Can Acupuncture Help Ease Anxiety?

1. Stress Reduction

One of the primary benefits of acupuncture is its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. By targeting key points associated with stress relief, acupuncture helps calm the nervous system and quiet the mind, allowing for a sense of serenity to wash over you. Plus, who doesn’t love laying on a warm table in a quiet room with spa music soothing you into a midday nap?

2. Balancing Energy

According to traditional Chinese medicine, anxiety is often the result of an imbalance in the body’s Yin and Yang energy. Acupuncture works to restore this balance by clearing blockages and harmonizing the flow of energy, helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

3. Regulating Hormones

Hormonal imbalances can contribute to feelings of anxiety and mood swings. Acupuncture can help regulate hormone levels, promoting a more stable and balanced emotional state.

4. Boosting Mood

Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins and other feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. This natural mood boost can help lift spirits and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

5. Improving Sleep

Anxiety and sleep issues often go hand in hand, with one feeding into the other. Acupuncture can help regulate sleep patterns and promote deeper, more restful sleep, leaving you feeling more refreshed and resilient in the face of daily stressors.

6. Enhancing Mind-Body Connection

Acupuncture is not just about treating physical symptoms—it’s about nurturing the mind-body connection. By bringing awareness to the body’s sensations and promoting relaxation, acupuncture can help you feel more grounded and centered, even in the midst of chaos.

7. Complementary Therapy

While acupuncture can be effective on its own, it can also complement other anxiety management strategies such as therapy, meditation, and lifestyle changes. Together, these approaches create a holistic framework for managing anxiety and promoting overall well-being

What’s Next?

If you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety or any mental health related issues and are interested in alternative therapies, we’re here to help! As everyone’s presentation of mental health issues is different, it’s important to seek the advice of a certified acupuncturist to see if this type of therapy is the right fit. 

At Family Tree Acupuncture and Wellness, we’re dedicated to helping you through life’s challenges and are here to answer any and all of your questions.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine work best when used weekly, for the cumulative effect, for anxiety and most other things, too.

At Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness, we offer acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy, myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, and visceral manipulation to help you manage and heal your whole being, from emotional issues to chronic pain.

For personalized support with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, or for your free 15-minute initial telemedicine consult, book an appointment with Sara or Dr. Jennie. Book a massage anytime here.

Sara Crispino, L.Ac.
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

Has anyone ever told you they tried acupuncture once and it didn’t work?

Well, that’s because just one acupuncture treatment may make you feel better for a day or two, but as magical as acupuncture can be, a series of treatments is needed to achieve deep and lasting results.

How many treatments you’ll need depends on a few things, including what issue we’re treating, how long you’ve had it, your overall health, and how severe the issue is. Long-standing chronic issues, or very severe problems, will likely require a longer series of treatments, while something like a mild ankle sprain will respond well in just 2-3 treatments.  

Acupuncture and massage therapy are dose-dependent.

Cumulative treatments are usually needed, just like when you see a chiropractor or physical therapist. You’ll get some relief from your first treatment, but a series of treatments make lasting changes by retraining the nervous system and muscle memory, calming inflammation, improving circulation, strengthening the immune system, and regulating hormones.

In general with acupuncture, we recommend weekly treatment for the first 4-6 visits, then taper to every other week, then monthly if needed. You should feel better after each treatment, however, it takes multiple visits close together to create lasting change. Herbal medicine may also be recommended, and can greatly enhance and speed up treatment since it is taken daily.

Here are some examples of commonly treated problems that usually follow this treatment plan

(If your symptoms are especially severe, you may need more weekly treatment, or 2+ visits the first week or two for best results):

Migraines

Weekly acupuncture for 4-6 weeks, then every other week for 1-2 months, then as needed as migraines subside. Herbs may be prescribed. Craniosacral therapy and neck massage may also be recommended

Painful and/or irregular periods

Weekly acupuncture for 4 weeks, then every other week for two more months, as near as possible to ovulation and period. Herbs are highly recommended for best results. Visceral manipulation for painful periods may be recommended.

Long-Covid

Weekly acupuncture 4+ weeks then tapering as above. This depends entirely on the severity of symptoms and the systems affected. Mild symptoms may resolve in a month, severe symptoms can take months to clear. Herbal medicine is highly recommended in most cases.

Insomnia

Weekly 4-6 visits, then tapering as above. Herbal medicine is highly recommended.

Anxiety

Weekly 4-6 weeks, then tapering as above. Herbal medicine is very helpful and works daily. Those with chronic anxiety do best with monthly maintenance sessions once symptoms are managed. Craniosacral therapy may be recommended, as well.

For massage, you may just need a session or two to relieve your sore muscles or occasional massages for self-care.

Several weekly treatments are recommended for chronic conditions that are causing you ongoing problems. Problems like chronic neck or back pain, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other chronic musculoskeletal pain respond best to consistent work during the first few weeks, as your massage therapist releases tension and adhesions in the tissue and surrounding areas that may be contributing to your pain patterns.

Of course, many people get a regular monthly massage and/or acupuncture for health maintenance, too.

We highly recommend monthly maintenance sessions as a wonderful and feel-good part of your healthy lifestyle! Monthly maintenance sessions are a great way to manage stress, calm anxiety, improve circulation, manage chronic health issues, and keep your immune system strong.

We are also here if you need us for those flare-ups, new issues and to help manage stress and anxiety.

As always, let us know if you have questions about treatment, including what we can treat. We’re happy to help!

Book an appointment for acupuncture or massage, or a 15-minute free initial consult at https://acusimple.com/access/7870/#/appointments/1016/

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

Hello, anxiety, our old friend…

Here we are again with another once-in-a-generation (or lifetime) event with worldwide impact. I’ve heard from a lot of people that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing the metaphorical ground they stand on to feel wobbly, once again.

After all, we’re still trying to figure out our world after two years in a pandemic.    

It’s no surprise that anxiety levels have skyrocketed worldwide these past two years. While the overwhelming shock of the first few months of the pandemic gradually settled, I’ve witnessed many of my patients struggle with recurring anxiety with each new wave, and even now wondering if we’re through it or not. 

It has, indeed, been a bit relentless. One big thing after another. These days, anxiety is the #1 most common thing I treat in my clinic. It isn’t always what brings people in initially. It’s almost an afterthought, it’s become so common. It’s our new normal, this high-functioning anxiety. 

A racing mind is a clue that we have high-functioning anxiety, the feeling that we can’t really relax or let go.

You might feel nervous, restless, or just tense no matter what you do. You might have trouble falling asleep, or wake up in the night with spinning thoughts that won’t settle down. It can make it hard to concentrate and impact your daily life. Anxiety can manifest as headaches and migraines, stomach problems, dizziness, or a racing heart or palpitations. When it gets really bad, anxiety can make you feel a sense of impending doom, and can even turn into a panic attack.

So you see, it’s not “just anxiety”.

It has a big impact on your well-being. 

So what can you do about it?

Here are a few tips you can use right now to help calm anxiety.

Follow the 3-3-3 rule.

Name 3 things you see, 3 sounds you can hear, and move 3 parts of your body (like your toes, your fingers, and your nose). 

This helps to ground you into your body and get you out of your head. I like to also touch something and focus on its texture to help get me out of my head, like the texture of my shirt. 

Practice 6:3 breathing

A quick hack for calming your nervous system is to do this simple breathing technique that works by reducing the carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio in your blood, telling your body it’s ok to relax. The important thing here is to breathe out longer than you breathe in.

Blowing out of your mouth like you’re slowly blowing out a candle, breathe out for a count of 6. Then slowly breathe in through your nose for a count of 3. It should feel calm and easy. Repeat this for at least 6 breaths, as often as needed. In fact, the more often you do this, the faster it will help you relax when you really need it.  

Check your thoughts.  

Are you fixating on worst-case scenarios? Take a step back mentally and ask yourself what might go right. It can also be really helpful to talk to a friend or loved one. Holding it in can make it feel worse.

Focus on what you CAN control right now

This is especially true for events that are totally out of our control, like the pandemic. When these things threaten to overwhelm you, find something you can control right now, like cleaning your kitchen or getting some exercise. Just do something, the more physical the better to get you out of your head. 

And here are some things you can do habitually to help manage chronic anxiety….

Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and sugar

These can all have a stimulating or dysregulating effect on our bodies and moods. Steady as she goes is our motto with anxiety. Eating a nourishing, whole foods diet that doesn’t spike your blood sugar or ramp you up can go a long way in calming anxiety in the long run.

Get moving 

Exercise, whether it’s walking, dancing, yoga, or mountain climbing, is so helpful to discharge all the pent-up energy we experience with anxiety. Regular exercise is one of the most effective things you can do to manage anxiety.  Even better, do it outside where fresh air and nature will help soothe your nervous system. 

Get acupuncture!

Regular acupuncture is extremely effective at relieving chronic anxiety. It is most helpful to go weekly for at least a month, then taper to once a month, or whatever works best for you. Acupuncture works to regulate and retrain the nervous system to get out of fight or flight and into a more relaxed state. You’ll feel much better by the end of your visit, and the cumulative effect of multiple visits can vastly improve your day-to-day anxiety. 

Use Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is a safe and natural way to treat anxiety, and importantly, it helps treat the underlying issues that allow anxiety to take hold. We can also treat many of the side effects of anxiety, like insomnia, palpitations, and more, all at once.  A trained herbalist will look at your whole body and use a formula that treats all of you. 

Anxiety is more common than you think. You are not alone. Let us know if we can help!

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

…And what to do about it

As parents of teens, my husband and I often chuckle a bit at the many ways teenagers are pretty much the same as when we were kids.

We may have pined after Guess jeans or Esprit bags instead of Lululemon yoga pants or Nike socks, but our kids remind us of our younger selves all the time.

But……in many ways this is a whole new world for teens these days.

Does your teen feel stressed all the time?

Are they having trouble falling asleep?

Are they getting a lot of headaches, migraines, or stomachaches?

Then they are likely having anxiety!

 
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Here are 3 of the top reasons your teens are more stressed than we were at that age:

1. The massive stress of social media and the pressure to be perfect.

When we were young, if we had a rough day with friends, we could come home and escape it for the rest of the day.

Now, teens really never get away from all the friend drama because of constant connection with their phones and devices. Even the video games are connected.

Get in a fight with your best friend?

Now it’s all over SnapChat by the time you get home from school. Then there’s a constant barrage of comments, and side-taking…..

And, they won’t log out because they suffer from major FOMO….Fear of Missing Out.

Additionally, many studies are showing that constant screen time is creating more depression and moodiness in kids and teens (and even adults,) and it’s creating a mess of emotions.

2. Sports aren’t just for fun anymore

It used to be the norm for athletes to play multiple sports, and have fun doing them all.

Now, the kids are being pushed to pick a sport as young as 8, and then devote massive amounts of time to it for years.

Not only are we seeing more major injuries due to repetitive stress, but kids are burning out before they even finish high school. Let’s not even get into the financial cost of sports these days!

Ironically, many college coaches say they look most for the multi-sport, well-rounded athletes, for precisely the reason they don’t want the injuries or burn-out.

All-together, sports have often become more of a stressor than a stress-reliever.

3. They aren’t getting enough sleep of down-time

This ties back into 1. and 2. a lot. Between the crazy sports schedules, hours spent on social media, and crazy-intense course loads, kids are not getting enough sleep, and they definitely aren’t getting time to just do nothing and let their minds rest.

I see high school kids who are doing course loads that are harder than my college classes at CU. My son’s 9th and 10th grade honors English classes were reading materials I had in my 12th grade AP English class. They often have multiple honors classes.

Then, they go to their sports practices after school, usually every day for school teams, with events on the weekends.

After that, kids are staying up til midnight to get all their homework done. They are getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night instead of the 8-9 hours they really need.

Yes, you read that right……teenagers need 8-9 hours of sleep/night.

Their brains are still growing, and so are their bodies. They need more sleep than we do, and are often getting less.
 
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All these things are mixing together to create some super-stressed teens who are truly suffering from anxiety.

Some things you can do to help your teen with anxiety:

  • Create screen-time limits
  • Help them go to sleep earlier
  • Get really honest about whether a sport of high-level class is worth all the anxiety in the long-run
  • Make time each week with your teen to let them talk….a coffee date on the way to school, or dinner out, just you two.
  • Look into acupuncture and craniosacral therapy to help manage an overloaded nervous system.

Acupuncture and craniosacral therapy are both excellent ways to help calm and reset our nervous system. Usually after just a few treatments, kids feel much calmer, and get relief from many of the symptoms of anxiety, from headaches and stomach aches, to irregular periods and insomnia.

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Let us know how we can help, or what questions you have. There is help for your anxious and stressed out teen!

Jennie Luther, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness, LLC
Phone: 720-507-1705
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