Considering 6.8 million Americans suffer from general anxiety disorder (GAD) and only 43.2% seek treatment for it, highlighting the many options out there to help should be front and center (via the Anxiety & Depression Association of America). Not everyone wants to — or can — take pills, and some people don’t want an hour-long therapy session once a week to manage their anxiety symptoms.
When you receive acupuncture, small needles are placed along the body at points where it’s believed there is a blockage (via Verywell Mind). Although the needles can vary in thickness and length, they don’t hurt. Because anxiety can be the result of internal and external forces that throw the body’s Qi for a loop, acupuncture brings it back to a state of balance again (via Everyday Health). Therefore, acupuncture works to control the fight-or-flight feelings that people experience, by promoting the parasympathetic zone, which is also known as “rest and digest.”
“While in the rest and digest mode, acupuncture appears to help regulate neurotransmitter levels, like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and anandamide,” Dr. Tom Ingegno, doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, tells The Zoe Report. “This symphony of neurotransmitters controls our body’s response to stress, and mediates levels of anxiety and depression. In this way, acupuncture ‘hits the reset button’ to allow these levels to balance. They will breathe slower and deeper, they will feel muscles relax, feel their stomach rumble, and they may even feel their heart rate slow — and often fall asleep.” Ultimately, Dr. Ingegno says, “It’s as if acupuncture reminds someone what ‘relaxed’ feels like, which they can then take home with them.”
Being able to take home such levels of blissful relaxation may sound amazing — because it is — but acupuncture isn’t a flawless technique that everyone enjoys.