According to the Public Health Agency of Canada anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health problems. It is estimated that one in 10 Canadians is affected by anxiety at some point of their lives. Everyone feels anxious at some point or another. Persons with anxiety disorder however suffer from long periods of anxiety that are often disproportionate to the events happening in their lives. In this article we examine how both acupuncture and massage can help in the treatment of anxiety and stress.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the skin to promote better health. Acupuncture has been used for centuries in Asia to promote wellness. Stress has only been recognized as a risk factor in poor health for a few decades in western medicine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the role our emotions playe in the creation of well-being however has been known for centuries. Anxiety in Traditional Chinese Medicine is a form of imbalance. It occurs when the energy (qi) in our bodies is not flowing properly. Quite often in fact when we are highly stressed or anxious the energy in our bodies feel wiry. It does not flow smoothly and can be compared to water moving forcefully through stiff tubing. Energy in our bodies may not flow correctly for several different reasons. We may be coping with stressful situations that restrict the proper flow of energy, or we may be overly tired or exhausted. Acupuncture works at a deep level to understand the cause of our anxiety or stress. Specific organs for example the liver and heart in Traditional Chinese Medicine are commonly affected by anxiety and stress. Each case is unique. Acupuncture will work to create balance in the affected organs, which in turn will reduce the effects of anxiety and chronic stress on the body.
It may seem counter intuitive to lay persons to try acupuncture for anxiety, particularly as no-one likes being poked with needles. Most persons new to acupuncture will be surprised to know lots of patients fall asleep during acupuncture treatments, or at least experience deep relaxation and rejuvenation. Vibrational acupuncture treatments are particularly useful for anxious or highly stressed individuals. The vibrations from the tuning forks used in Vibrational acupuncture are quite often pleasurable. And if needles are used ( and they don’t have to be in sound acupuncture treatments) the needles are normally inserted into parts of the body less sensitive to pain. The effects of acupuncture treatments work cumulatively to create better health. Expect to feel more relaxed after the first session. After 5 sessions however most patients are sleeping better and experience overall a better sense of inner balance.
Massage is also very useful in stress management and the treatment of anxiety. Massage promotes both physiological responses and emotional responses that promote better health. Physiological responses to massage are the changes that occur in the muscles, fascia and joints etc. Quality massage will release tension from the muscle tissue, promote circulation and the better flow of energy throughout the body. Emotionally massage will promote relaxation and a sense of calm. Massage releases endorphins into blood circulation. Endorphins produce feelings of happiness and well-being. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view massage encourages the smooth flow of energy which results in better physical and emotional balance and overall better health.
So which treatment works better for anxiety and stress?
It depends on the client, and their specific needs.
At Northwest Vibrational Acupuncture and Massage in North West Calgary we specialize in Acu-Massage, a form of treatment that combines the benefits of acupuncture and massage in one session. Acu-Massage sessions can begin with massage and end with either traditional acupuncture of vibrational acupuncture, or depending on the needs of the client acu-massage treatments can begin with acupuncture and then end with massage. If you live in Northwest Calgary or the Calgary area book an appointment online with us today. Let the therapists at NW Vibrational Acupuncture and Massage help you to manage your anxiety and stress.