Western culture looks to medicines to solve almost all of our problems.
From anxiety to hair loss, we can be almost certain that there is a pill for any issue that arises. While doctors prescribe medicine because they believe taking it will benefit us and will do more good for us than harm, some medicines can still cause us not to feel like ourselves—especially medicine prescribed for anxiety.
This is because medicines prescribed for anxiety work by regulating the body’s level of serotonin which could take multiple trials to find an appropriate dose that works for your body. Instead of turning to medicine for relief, Eastern medicine instead believes in the healing power of needles and pressure points.
Acupressure therapy has been around for centuries but is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. It is believed to lessen symptoms for a multitude of health ailments, but can it work to alleviate anxiety? And if so, how?
The theory behind acupressure therapy comes from the ancient Chinese’s medical beliefs that our body is ruled by an energy, Qi. According to a health and wellness website, Everyday Health, “like blood in the circulatory system, Qi moves throughout the body via pathways called meridians. When factors like injury, stress, poor nutrition, or a change in environment disrupt the flow of Qi, health issues follow.” While western medicine may believe that a quick visit to the doctor and a prescribed medicine could restore the body’s Qi, Eastern medical professionals believe in a more natural remedy. Daniel Hsu, Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at New York AcuHealth Acupuncture in New York City explains that “Qi is just a metaphor for metabolic function, or the chemical reactions constantly taking place in the body,” Everyday Health states. So, instead of using medicine to restore the body’s metabolic function, in acupressure therapy, needles and pressure points are used.
Everyday Health then explains that “acupuncture can cause the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals, jump-start the body’s natural ability to heal itself, or stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety,” depending upon the different places the needles are inserted.
While medicines prescribed to help control anxiety may take months to regulate before they are effective, experts believe that acupressure therapy can actually work after just one session. Everyday Health discusses a 2013 study published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies that states “students who underwent a 20-minute acupuncture session were found to have less anxiety and better memory immediately afterward than those who didn’t have acupuncture.” The concept seems silly—sticking needles into various pressure points to alleviate seemingly non-related pains—but, the practice is actually backed by a scientific explanation. Everyday Health informs us that “researchers at Georgetown University used lab studies to demonstrate that acupuncture slows the body’s production of stress hormones,” which could result in a lessened state of anxiety.
Verdict: Fact. According to studies published, acupressure therapy really can lessen anxiety. Speak with your doctor to find a recommended acupuncture doctor and see if the therapy could help with your anxiety symptoms. The relaxing environment could be just what your body needs to restore Qi back to it’s natural, healthy state!
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Have you ever tried acupressure for anxiety before?