How Acupuncture Reduces Anxiety and Improves Mood
You’ve heard about acupuncture before. You’ve seen it on TV and you know its origins are pretty ancient. You’ve heard it can help with aches and pains. But did you know acupuncture can help with anxiety and mood as well?
If you’re feeling held back from living your life happily because of your mood, I hear you. I hear it from my patients too when I first meet them. They don’t feel like themselves any more. Their relationships are strained. They can’t cope with work. All because of their anxiety or low mood.
Can acupuncture really provide an answer? In my experience, acupuncture is a powerful tool to add to a broader treatment plan for managing anxiety and mood. But a lot of people can’t quite wrap their heads around it. How does sticking needles in different parts of the body lead to a change in mood? How does it work?
The bottom line is that scientists are still trying to figure that out. There are numerous studies showing that acupuncture reduces anxiety and symptoms of depression but we’re still trying to figure out what is going on inside the body during and after a course of acupuncture treatments.
Here are some insights that we know so far:
– Brain MRI scans show that acupuncture is able to improve interactions between different parts of the brain in a way that improves mood
– Acupuncture seems to benefit parts of the brain that play a role in motivation and reward
– Acupuncture positively affects the activity of dopamine and GABA which are both brain chemicals that help keep you calm and happy
So essentially acupuncture is somehow able to help the brain and nervous system function in a healthier way and this in turn helps with mood and anxiety levels. I could say more, and acupuncture likely works in other ways as well but it’s still being sorted out by researchers.
Another obstacle to acupuncture for some people is fear of pain. People are worried that it hurts. Most of my patients actually enjoy acupuncture and look forward to their sessions with me. After a couple sessions, my patients tell me that they feel more “balanced” and better able to cope with stress and anxiety. And the results last well after sessions have stopped.
Acupuncture really can take your treatment plan to the next level. It’s also covered under your naturopathic medicine benefits. Think about it. Do your own research. Come and chat with me about it. When you’re ready to start, you know where to find me.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected].