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Success story #1: Acupuncture aids Amy’s anxiety and IBS conditions



Amy (not my client’s real name) came to me shortly prior to her starting her first year at university. She was suffering from severe anxiety, panic attacks, spasms and pain in her abdomen, and diarrhoea.


Her digestive issues had been diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) by her physician, who prescribed antidepressants for her anxiety and Xanax for her panic attacks. She also saw a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) practitioner, who gave her some techniques to manage her anxiety, but she didn’t find them to be very helpful.


In addition to her primary complaint, Amy also had difficulty sleeping. She woke up several times each night, and she suffered constant nausea and very low appetite. Because of her emotional and physical issues, she had lost 10 kg in eight months.


Amy’s symptoms had started when she was taking her A-Level exams. The anxiety was caused by exam stress combined with issues from her past – when younger, she had been embarrassed using public toilets. Consequently, almost every time Amy wanted to leave the house, she would have a panic attack that included crying and IBS symptoms. These attacks would also happen when she was outside. Amy’s solution was to remain in her house as much as possible.


Treatment results

Amy had weekly sessions of acupuncture combined with Shiatsu massage. Here’s the progress she made:

Session 2

The nausea had gone. She had less feelings of panic, and she was experiencing a lot less abdominal cramping.

Session 4

There was a noticeable decrease in anxiety levels. Amy mentioned to me that she had noticed how acupuncture had a much stronger effect on her anxiety and panic attacks than the medications and the CBT.

Session 5

Amy reported that she was taking less Xanax than before. She felt her stomach cramping sometimes, but it didn’t evolve into a panic attack, and she managed to forget about it quickly.

Session 7

Amy’s anxiety symptoms continued to improve. By now, Amy had stopped taking Xanax. She was still taking her other antidepressants regularly, as recommended by her doctor.

Session 9

Amy’s sleep had been improving throughout the sessions, but it was during this session she told me that she had finally found a way to stop herself from getting caught up in negative thoughts. She was now falling to sleep much more easily.

After 10 sessions


Amy felt strong enough to take a break from our sessions for a few months. Now, she comes when she feels the need.

Amy’s treatment had some ups and downs, but overall, she showed consistent improvement. The outcome was a return to full function and successful completion of her first year at university.

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