Acupressure: A Natural Remedy for Anxiety from the Old World

natural remedy for anxiety

Remember the first time you had to get up in front of the class and give a speech?  Sweaty hands, pounding heart, shallow breathing… Your mouth was so dry you had trouble forming words…

 

What if you lived with that feeling all the time?  

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million Americans. We buy prescription after prescription, seek the help of mental health professionals – it’s a disorder that costs the United States 42 billion dollars annually. People with anxiety disorders are three times more likely to visit a doctor, often on repeated visits for vague complaints like nausea, jitteriness, and headaches.  Often people fail to realize that what they should be seeking is a natural remedy for anxiety.

The constant edginess that comes with anxiety doesn’t just take a toll on your mental well-being. It takes a toll on your body, as well.

Generalized anxiety, when left unchecked, contributes to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, which seems a given when  you realize that rapid heart rate and elevated blood pressure, two huge red flags for heart problems, are present in nearly everyone with an anxiety disorder.

Gastrointestinal function is also impaired by chronic anxiety. One study suggests that 50% of people with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) also have some sort of anxiety disorder.  And one of the primary symptoms of anxiety is nausea and upset stomach.

 

So what happens to our bodies when we’re anxious?

In the short term, your blood flow will increase throughout your body, amping up your muscular response, sharpening your senses.  Your breathing will quicken, as will your pulse. Your blood pressure will spike. You’re ready for action.

The only problem is, the body isn’t meant to be amped-up forever.  In the fight or flight impulse, a body revs up to deal with danger, then is meant to return to its original equilibrium.  Spending days or weeks on adrenaline is a consequence of modern society.

If you have anxiety, you’ll recognize many of these signs:

  • Worrying about everything, or even worse, nothing at all
  • Perspiring for no reason
  • Trembling or shaking hands; butterflies in your stomach
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Shallow breathing or hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations or chest pain
  • Indications of muscle tension like clenched fists, tension headaches, and grinding teeth
  • Gastrointestinal issues that range from diarrhea and constipation, nausea, bloating, cramping, and gas

These symptoms are bad enough. Long term, however, they run other risks.

  • Lowered immune response
  • Increased vulnerability for Chrohn’s disease, ulcers, and IBS
  • Heart disease; Chronic high blood pressure and increased heart rate can put a strain on the heart
  • Obesity; Cortisol, which is released during stressful situations, is known to cause weight gain, as well as using poor coping mechanisms (smoking, overeating, and drinking alcohol among them)
  • Menstrual problems and sexual side effects due to the fluctuation of hormones
  • Higher risk of diabetes due to spikes in blood sugar and increased risk of diabetes
  • Skin disorders

 

An Ancient Technique for a New World Disorder

Acupuncturists have a wealth of tools at our disposal to help determine a patient-specific natural remedy for anxiety.

  • Meditation is proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate, and improve sleep.
  • Herbs and supplements like NA-C can provide a calming effect when taken regularly.
  • Acupuncture Needles placed in various parts of the body treat both the root and the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Auricular Acupuncture or Ear Acupuncture Similar to acupuncture on the body, certain needles sites on the ear have been proven to reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety, even when stimulated with pressure only.

 

We all have periods where we feel anxious in our lives. Major life changes, financial concerns, health scares: they’re all reasons that a person may feel worried from time to time.  But if anxiety has become a constant in your life, it’s time to take control again and find a natural remedy for anxiety that will bring the focus back to you, not your fears.

Amber Creasey
Amber Creasey is AcuThrive’s Chief Acupuncture Consultant. She received her Master’s Degree in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado, in 2005 and has held two of her own acupuncture practices. She is also a gifted writer and lends her talent to AcuThrive with blog posts about the newest breakthroughs in acupuncture.

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