Mental illness is very common with around 45 percent of Australians experiencing a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime.
15% of Australians have experienced depression in their lifetime. (1)
26.3% of Australia’s will have experienced an anxiety disorder. (1)
13% of Australia are currently experiencing high levels philological stress and beyond. (1)
Psychological: Feelings of being overwhelmed, unhappy, miserable and sad.
Physical: Physically feeling tired all the time, run down, poor appetite, headaches and muscular pain.
Behaviour: Withdrawing from close friends and family. Not leaving the house, relying on alcohol, medication or drugs. (2)
Psychological: Feelings of excessive fear, worrying and obsessive thinking.
Physical: Heart palpitations, tight chest, shortness of breath, restlessness and panic attacks.
Behaviour: Becoming withdrawn form social, work and educational environments due to feeling of anxiousness. (3)
Psychological: Excessive worry, irritability, sadness, overwhelmed, moody, difficult to concentrate and low self-esteem.
Physical: Headaches, trouble sleeping, fatigue, digestive issues, muscle tension, compromised immunity and high blood pressure.
Behaviour: Changes in appetite, Uncontrollable anger, relationship issues, withdrawn, alcohol, smoking and drug abuse. (4)
Acupuncture overall is able to stimulate the nervous system via the regulation of the biochemical balance within the body.
The research has demonstrated that the main mechanism of action in the management of anxiety disorders is by how it is able to increase the following neurotransmitters and hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. (5)
Endorphins are responsible for making us feel good and are able to reduce stress and the pain.
Serotonin which is produced in the brain is important for the regulating the functions of or mood, sleep, appetite, digestion and sexual function.
Norepinephrine also plays and vital role in assist with a persons mood, concentration.
Dopamine another neurotransmitter that is important for our mental health also assists in the function of regulating our memory, focus and sleep.
Below we have listed two recent systematic reviews. These are scientific papers that summarizes the evidence of Acupuncture and anxiety as form or therapy:
Effects of acupuncture in treating anxiety: Integrative review.
The reviews 19 studies provided positive and statically significant effects. With the researches stating that there is moderate to high quality evidence to support it use and that “the effects of acupunctures for treating anxiety have been significant compared to conventional treatments.” (6)
Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders; A Systematic review of clinical research.
A total number of 1135 studies testing Acupuncture and its use for anxiety were reviewed. 13 studies out of the total were able to achieve high quality scientific evidence. Overall the researchers concluded that “there is good scientific evidence encouraging acupuncture therapy to treat anxiety disorders as it yields effective outcomes, with fewer side effects than conventional treatment.” (7)
1. Beyond Blue. Statistics. Available from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/media/statistics
2. Beyond Blue. The facts Depression. Available from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression
3. Beyond Blue. The facts Anxiety. Available from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety
4. Beyond Blue. What is Mental health. Available from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/what-is-mental-health
5. Ribeiro SC, Kennedy SE, Smith YR, Stohler CS, Zubieta JK. Interface of physical and emotional stress regulation through the endogenous opioid system and m-opioid receptors. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2005;1264-1280.
6. Goyata SL, Avelino CC, Santos SV, Souza Junior DI, Gurgel MD, Terra FS. Effects from acupuncture in treating
anxiety: integrative review. Rev Bras Enferm. 2016 Jun;69(3):602-9.
7. Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S. M., Clinical, N. A. T. I., 2018. (n.d.). Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Elsevier