Dealing with anxiety the smart way

If you suffer from low energy levels, upset stomachs and IBS, headaches, chest pains, and a rapid heartbeat, you may be suffering from stress or anxiety. However, stress is short-term, whereas anxiety is a long-term condition. While there are several anxiety disorders, the symptoms are common, and include:

  • Panic

  • Problems with sleeping

  • Unable to remain calm and still

  • Cold, sweaty, numb, or tingling hands and/or feet

  • Breathlessness

  • Heart palpitations

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Tenseness in muscles


How to stop an anxiety attack

One way of dealing with anxiety is to learn how to stop an anxiety attack – you know, the classic ‘panic attack’ bought on by stress.

The first step is to realise that you are suffering an anxiety attack. You may find it difficult to breath, start trembling, have a raised heartbeat that you can ‘feel’, or sweat profusely. You may feel detached from reality. There are many symptoms of an anxiety attack. You may have some or all of them. Everyone is different.


Here are some ways to deal with an anxiety attack:


  • Recognise that this is an anxiety attack and that you are safe, nothing bad can happen to you. This is just a wave of emotions taking on physical form, but there’s nothing physically wrong with you.

  • Be compassionate toward yourself and don’t judge yourself for what you’re going through. When you judge yourself and try to resist what is happening, you’re creating an inner conflict that doesn’t allow the attack to pass. The more you accept the way you feel, the faster that wave will calm down.

  • Take 3 deep breaths: inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Wait for 10 seconds and repeat those 3 breaths.

  • Stand up and move a little. Rotate your neck, shoulders, arms. Shake your arms and legs a little. Let the tension release in that way.

  • Find a private space and don’t be afraid to cry if you need to. The relief will soon come!


How to reduce anxiety in the long term

There are three methods by which most sufferers of anxiety are treated.

  • The first is by psychotherapy – or counselling. This helps you understand your stressors and learn the skills to manage your anxiety.

  • The second is by medication. Antidepressants, which dull your senses and make it ‘easier to cope’. You should consider the benefits, side effects, and risks before taking these.

  • The third method is by alternative medicines. One of the most effective of these is acupuncture.


How does acupuncture work to reduce anxiety?

Acupuncture is a therapy for the nervous system. In Chinese medicine, treatment focuses on caring for both body and mind without drugs. Different forms of anxiety are mostly caused by the [Chinese view of the] spleen, heart, liver, and kidneys. Factors such as lifestyle and nutrition can impair the function of one or more of these organs and lead to anxiety.


Acupuncture works to help anxiety by:


  • Increasing levels of endomorphin-1, beta endorphin, encephalin, and serotonin. These hormones cause analgesia and sedation.

  • improving the circulation of the blood, helping to oxygenate body tissue and remove cortisol and waste chemicals; and

  • lowering the heart rate, relaxing muscles, and reducing blood pressure.


The needles used are extremely thin – many no thicker than the width of two human hairs. They are inserted in strategic positions for your unique anxiety problems and condition. And there’s no need to worry about the pain – most patients don’t even realise the needles have been inserted!


Does acupuncture really help anxiety?

There have been many medical studies performed in the West with the aim of understanding whether acupuncture really works for a variety of conditions. Evidence from these show that a course of acupuncture helps those suffering from anxiety. For example:


A 2004 study by D. Warren Spence et al found that acupuncture improves anxiety levels as measured by the STAI scale.  The study also found that five weeks of acupuncture significantly increased nocturnal secretion of endogenous melatonin, helping to improve sleep time and efficiency. Evidence that acupuncture treatment may be of value for patients suffering with anxiety and insomnia.


A high-quality randomised controlled trial (RCT) reviewed by a team headed by Young-Dae Kim in 2013 concluded that acupuncture had statistically significant effects compared to a waitlist control, with results comparable to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). In addition, the therapeutic effect of acupuncture was similar with CBT therapy based on the trial. Additionally, the clinical improvement related to acupuncture lasted for at least 3 months after the end of treatment in the high-quality RCT.


How long does it take for acupuncture to reduce anxiety?

Most patients notice a significant improvement in their anxiety and mental state after a few acupuncture sessions, and some will start feeling less anxious after just a couple of sessions. It really depends on the severity of your anxiety and the mental and physical problems that may be the underlying cause.


Which acupuncture points are used for anxiety?

The right acupuncture points to use for anxiety depend upon the type of anxiety and its cause. Each classification of anxiety is associated with a unique pattern of imbalance, and each is treated differently with acupuncture. There are different acupuncture points for different anxiety problems.


How will reduced anxiety make me feel?

Whatever your anxiety disorder, there is a unique acupuncture treatment to help. You’ll soon be taking advantage of the benefits of reduced anxiety. You’ll be:

  • More relaxed

  • Sleeping better

  • Better focused

  • Better able to make decisions

Your physical health will improve, too.


What happens in your first acupuncture session?

Your first visit begins with a consultation period. You and I will discuss your medical history and any other relevant information. This consultation normally takes between 15 and 30 minutes. You may then ask any questions you may have, before we proceed with your acupuncture treatment.

 Once the needles have been placed, they stay in position for 20 minutes. In total, your first session will last approximately one hour. Then we’ll schedule further one-hour sessions to allow the acupuncture to more fully address the physical and mental issues that are causing your anxiety. These extra sessions also include Shiatsu Massage, helping you relax, easing you into the acupuncture treatment, and better informing me of your health condition. Click here for more information about Shiatsu massage.


What my patients say about acupuncture for anxiety

"I went to Inbal while suffering from insomnia and panic attacks and in just a couple of sessions felt an immeasurable improvement (both physically and emotionally). She really took the time to listen to me and support me, providing me with acupuncture sessions and Chinese herbs. Shiatsu was an extremely welcome bonus. Very easy to get a hold of, very responsive and flexible. Highly recommended."

Shad O.


“I saw Inbal weekly over three months for anxiety, stress and sleep deprivation. Inbal was very thorough in her investigation of my symptoms, and I was impressed with how personalised the treatment was. I found the combination of Shiatsu massage and acupuncture very effective in helping me to relax, de-stress, and sleep well.”

Rory P.


How do I get started with acupuncture for anxiety?

By searching online and finding this website, you have taken the first step to improving your anxiety with acupuncture. You’ve found a qualified and experienced acupuncturist who specialises in treating people with anxiety disorders: people just like you.

To find out more, or to book a free consultation, click on the button below. I’m here to help.