Tag Archive for: chronic 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

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