TCM and Anxiety

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), body, mind and soul are inextricably linked – in other words, what affects one, affects all.

Symptoms of Anxiety

This certainly makes sense when you consider the ways in which an anxious mind can affect body and soul as well:

  • racing heart;
  • sweating;
  • nausea or stomach pain;
  • trembling;
  • dizziness;
  • numbness;
  • chest tightness or pain;
  • rapid or difficult breathing;
  • hot or cold flushes;
  • feelings of restlessness or being on edge;
  • insomnia;
  • muscle tension.

The Purpose of Anxiety

The original purpose of anxiety was to protect us from threats (both real and imagined).

If we encounter a wild animal for example, our anxiety will trigger the “fight or flight” response. Our body immediately releases chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol, and our breathing and heart rate escalate, to get the blood and oxygen pumping, so that we are primed and ready for action. We are ready to fight the threat – or flee from it.

Although we don’t see too many wild animals on the streets of Rozelle or Kogarah these days, that anxiety response still comes into play. It might be provoked in the lead up to a job interview or an exam, for example, “protecting” you by motivating you to study and prepare.

However, there are times when anxiety can get out of control, with up to one in four Australians affected. Despite no apparent cause, these individuals find they are living in a constant state of anxiety or dread, with symptoms which negatively impact their daily functioning. The protective mechanism is no longer helpful – in fact, it’s become counter-productive.

TCM and Anxiety Treatment

In my consultations, I like to use kinesiology – a gentle form of muscle testing – to identify and address the factors which are causing excessive anxiety, in conjunction with Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments such as acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practised in the east for thousands of years, although it is a relative newcomer to western society. However, preliminary studies indicate that acupuncture may be considered effective and safe, as a complementary and alternative therapy for the treatment of anxiety.

Helen Efstathiou

References:

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689180/
  3. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/acupuncture-for-generalized-anxiety-disorder-a-systematic-review-2161-0487.1000155.php?aid=31524
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3870484/
  5. https://aim.bmj.com/content/25/1-2/1
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1755-5949.2011.00254.x

 

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