Therapeutic Acupuncture in the Treatment of Stress and Anxiety

According to Kaptchuk (2000), acupuncture is rooted in naturalistic theories that are compatible with Confucianism, Taoism, and Western science. This is an effective remedy that includes the insertion of tiny needles into the skin at specific acupuncture points, which are located on the body’s meridians. Furthermore, acupuncture has been shown to aid in the control of stress and anxiety by affecting the part of the brain that manages emotions, resulting in a natural reduction in stress levels.

A brief history of acupuncture 

According to Cheng & Lin (2018), the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine is the first to mention acupuncture based on the meridian theory. Moreover, acupuncture’s fundamental theories and practices were founded during the Eastern Han Dynasty.

Ten Rhijne, a Dutch physician who worked for the East India Company and watched acupuncture use in Japan, wrote the earliest medical account of acupuncture ever written by a European physician. Ten Rhijne’s description was published in roughly 1680. In other nations, the practise of acupuncture was introduced at different times and by diverse means. When Korea and Japan adopted Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine into their medical systems in the sixth century, they were considered pioneers.  

Treating anxiety 

It is generally common for people to feel anxious when they are under stress, and it can be helpful in some situations. Since anxiety is frequently associated with fear, it is a protective mechanism to keep us safe from harm. However, there is a huge difference between anxiety and anxiety order. Anxiety disorders are a type of mental illness characterised by overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear, uneasiness, worry, or dread on a regular basis. Traditionally, anxiety is treated with either medicine or psychotherapy or a combination of the two. However, several natural remedies, such as meditation, exercise, and aromatherapy, have been shown to reduce anxiety levels.

Treating stress 

Stress is the experience of being overwhelmed by or unable to cope with cognitive or emotional pressure. Schneiderman et al. (2005) assert that stressors significantly impact mood, our sense of well-being, behaviour, and health. Stress can be beneficial or detrimental, and there are healthy methods to manage it. Physical components of the stress response include an increased heart rate and blood pressure, thoughts and personal ideas about the stressful experience and emotions such as fear and anger. Most people attempt to cope with stress by engaging in regular exercise, eating well, and partaking in other healthy activities.

Health benefits of acupuncture 

The central nervous system is supposed to be stimulated by acupuncture points. As a result, chemicals are released into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, causing them to contract. This practice is increasingly popular in the United States for the relief of chronic pain, such as arthritis or low back pain. Now, acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular in other regions of the world. 

Using acupuncture to deal with anxiety and stress 

According to recent studies, acupuncture has been demonstrated to be effective in managing stress and anxiety symptoms. Acupuncture sites can aid in the smooth flow of energy and the reduction of tension and anxiety in general. Since it causes the release of endorphins, which are naturally occurring pain-killing chemicals in the brain, it effectively reduces stress levels. Besides that, acupuncture promotes better blood circulation throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and helps eliminate cortisol and other undesirable compounds. 

Furthermore, several recent investigations on acupuncture and neuroimaging have demonstrated that acupuncture has the ability to influence the autonomic nervous system. The system is responsible for many functions, including the response to emotional cues. This is important because Minassian et al. (2014) found that stress significantly impacts one’s mood. 

In an article published by Siddiqui & Sniezek (2013), six assessed studies provide strong evidence supporting the use of acupuncture to treat major depressive disorder during pregnancy. Acupuncture sites aid in the relaxation and softening of uterine ligaments and increase blood flow to the pelvis. This supports the baby is entering the birth canal in the optimal position while softening and dilating the cervix and preparing the uterine muscles to contract effectively when necessary.

What should I expect during my stress and anxiety acupuncture treatment?

The first question your acupuncturist may ask you when you arrive for your initial visit will be about the symptoms you’re hoping to alleviate. They might also inquire as to any other health concerns you may have. 

When it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety, there are various factors to consider. A simple acupressure routine may be beneficial in alleviating some of the negative effects of stress and anxiety on the body’s physiological functions. In addition, applying pressure to acupuncture points mobilises energy, resulting in the release of those feel-good chemicals that we all love.

It has been observed that acupuncture can provide individuals with speedy effects, generally requiring only one to two sessions to get desired results. However, individual results and the number of sessions required will vary from person to person, just as they will with any treatment. 

Booking an anxiety and stress acupuncture appointment 

Melbourne Acupuncture Clinic offers acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and herbal medicine services. The majority of patients report feeling a tingling sensation or heaviness around the needlepoint, which subsides as the body begins to mend itself. Acupuncture’s increased energy flow and metabolic balance promote both physical and emotional well-being. Moreover, the goal of acupuncture is to replenish, stimulate, and unblock the flow of Qi through these meridians in order to restore body equilibrium. 


Cheng CY., Lin JG. (2018) A Brief History of Acupuncture: From Traditional Acupuncturology to Experimental Acupuncturology. In: Lin JG. (eds) Experimental Acupuncturology. Springer, Singapore. 

Kaptchuk, T. J., & Tomalin, S. (2000). The web that has no weaver: Understanding Chinese medicine (p. 464). Chicago: Contemporary Books.

Minassian, A., Geyer, M. A., Baker, D. G., Nievergelt, C. M., O’Connor, D. T., Risbrough, V. B., & MRS Team. (2014). Heart rate variability characteristics in a large group of active-duty marines and relationship to posttraumatic stress. Psychosomatic medicine, 76(4), 292.

Schneiderman, N., Ironson, G., & Siegel, S. D. (2005). Stress and health: psychological, behavioural, and biological determinants. Annual review of clinical psychology, 1, 607–628. 

Sniezek, D., Siddiqui, I. Medical Acupuncture.Jun 2013.164-172.

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