By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated June 22, 2012)
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) sees the body as a delicate balance of two opposing forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. The goal of acupuncture is to correct imbalances in these forces that are believed to cause physical and psychological health problems.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body (which vary depending on the illness being treated). A key technique in TCM, acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years in many Asian countries. The goal of acupuncture is to bring the body into a balanced state of yin and yang.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012), acupuncture is premised on the idea that “…imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians. Qi can be unblocked . . . by using acupuncture at certain points on the body that connect with these meridians.”
Can Acupuncture Reduce Anxiety?
Pilkington et al.’s (2007) review of research into acupuncture’s usefulness for treating generalized anxiety disorder indicates that acupuncture is a promising intervention for anxiety, though more research is needed. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (2012) also notes that evidence is mounting for the benefits of acupuncture as an anxiety treatment.
If you’re interested in learning more about this therapy or finding a provider near you, see Acufinder.com for international listings of acupuncturists.
More Anxiety Treatments
For a full list of complementary and alternative anxiety and panic disorder remedies, see the main Panic and Anxiety Treatments page.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2012). “Complementary and Alternative Treatment.” ADAA.org.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2011, August). “Acupuncture: An Introduction.” NCCAM.NIH.gov.
- Pilkington, K.; Kirkwood, G.; Rampes, H.; Cummings, M.; & Richardson, J. (2007). “Acupuncture for Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders – A Systematic Literature Review.” Acupuncture in Medicine, 25(1-2), 1-10.