Acupuncture for Stress, Anxiety and Pain

It seems more than before we are under a lot of stress and anxiety. Which include all generations, our youngest school agers with rising lack of focus and concentration abilities, the teens, and especially young adults.

It seems to be in epidemic proportions. The popular drugs aren’t helping. We are seeing many turning to alternatives including eastern medicine, CBD, and other stuff.

Let’s revisit some basic concepts about the treatment of Stress and Anxiety, which are attributed to 90% of all disease including cancer, heart disease and stroke and pain which effects millions of people. And weakens our defense systems – immunity.

Naturally, Stress and Anxiety boil down to depression and translate into unexplained body PAIN. The western antidepressant drugs such as Effexor, Paxil, Elavil, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Trazodone are commonly dispensed and considered modern miracles which focus on maintaining the serotonin levels in the brain.

These meds address the symptoms of depression and emotional upsets.  In addition to the variable side effects, the patients need to take them long term and usually in increasing doses to maintain optimum levels of serotonin. This, I feel, is not a favorable prognosis for the patient considering long term use.

On the other hand, Acupuncture, combined with Chinese herbs, or Traditional Chinese
Medicine (TCM) has proven to be an effective alternative to treat emotional anxiety and
stress-induced pain and fatigue. Acupuncture treatments results in long-term benefits
with positive side effects such as added zest and libido.

The difference in TCM and western medicine is that TCM treatments address the cause(s) of the disease, or that of the internal caused by the exposure to external stress and other factors.

Stress and toxic emotions when left untreated can cause energy (CHI) ‘blockage,’ changes of the neurotransmitters such as a decrease of brain concentration of the serotonin levels, resulting in anxiety, poor sleep, fatigue, and depression and pain.

TCM is based on the principle that true health and well-being involves a balance between the five fundamental aspects of ourselves. In terms of our emotions they are: joy, fear, anger, grief and sympathy.

These feelings are an essential part of our human nature – the problem occurs when we become stuck in one or other of these emotions. We are, perhaps, unable to express joy, grief, fear and may literally break down emotional with depression-like symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, weight loss or gain, hives, body aches and pain and disease.

(I use to break out in hives just hearing a certain persons voice; the M.D. said I had
an allergy. Yes, I did have an allergy but to a certain relationship.)

On another level, TCM considers anxiety is reflex or symptom caused by the lack of communication between spirit, conscience mind, and action.

Acupuncture aims to identify and correct emotional imbalance by intending to open communication between our unconscious and conscience selves.

An example would be perhaps, a person has a lifestyle, job or relationship that continually saps energy, so there is little energy or time for reflection, meditation, quietness and recovery of the body and soul.

Screen time in general, negative relationships, dead end jobs, to much device time are all causes of excessive drains on internal energy that can leave us feeling zapped, drained, fatigued.

Did you know there are acupuncture points that are called psycho-emotion points? I was pleasantly surprised to discover this aspect of acupuncture while in school in Bastyr and have used this technique with success on many patients.

When the psycho-emotional points are treated, tension is eased and patients find they feel grounded and more in control of their lives.

One question patients often ask is how can acupuncture for depression be effective in the long run when stress is, and always will be, part of our daily life? 

TCM treatment focuses on the root cause of the unbalance rather then the symptoms of stress. This allows our body and mind to handle the stress better or maintain the physiological balance better in times of anxiety.  Treatment will not get rid of the problems, but will give one a sense of solid groundedness to deal with problems.

Believe it or not, Acupuncture works and is being offered to compliment western medicine in the most modern and respected medical institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

I heard someone say, “Get plenty of wholesome foods, water, and sunshine and rest.”
We are really plants with complicated emotions.


  • Krystal Frost

    Krystal earned a degree in Asian Medicine from the University of Guadalajara, then Bastyr University for an acupuncture specialty, and has served our community since 2004. She has written a health column for the Mirror for over 20 years. Many thanks to my readers over two decades!

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