How Does Acupuncture Help Anxiety?

Acupuncture is known to increase the activity in the vagus nerve which reduces stress!

  • How can you tell when you are in rest-and-digest mode (parasympathetic), or fight-or-flight mode (sympathetic) ? Aside from your own subjective feelings of either anxiety or relaxation, there is an objective measure: heart rate variability or (HRV). 
  • There is evidence that acupuncture decreases the stress response in both human and animal subjects, and can increase HRV. Some patients’ HRV increased over weeks to months during the course of acupuncture treatments.
  • Heart rate variability, or HRV, is the measurement of how the heart rate varies in timing between heartbeats. Scientists have found that HRV reflects the level of activity in the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is one of the primary players in the body’s central nervous system. The “tone”, or activity level, in the vagus nerve is an indicator of when you’re spending more time in sympathetic or parasympathetic mode. 


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Frequently asked questions

Every Thing you need to know about Acupuncture For Anxiety & Depression

What does the acupuncture procedure involove?

Acupuncture points are specific areas on the body just beyond the surface of the skin. They have high concentrations of nerve endings, mast cells, lymphatic vessels, and capillaries. When an acupuncture needle is inserted into an acupuncture point, it stimulates the sensory receptor, which in turn stimulates the nerve, which then transmits impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system.

This complex system of interactions (often called a “feedback loop”) between the brain, hormones, and glands is responsible for regulating a number of bodily processes.

Because acupuncture helps to regulate the various feedback loops in your body, it actually allows your body to heal itself of whatever is wrong. This amazing trait is unique to nearly every other medical system, and has sustained acupuncture as a complete system of medicine for over 5,000 years.

How to prepare for Acupuncture procedure ?

So you want to you want to be prepared? Here is how to prepare for your first acupuncture treatment:

  1. Make sure your clothes are loose so they can be adjusted as needed.
  2. Come hydrated.
  3. Avoid coffee before and after by about 3 hours.
  4. Wear minimal jewelry. 

Does Acupuncture Treatment Hurt?

First time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like the injections at the doctor’s office. they won’t. acupuncture uses hair thin, flexible needles that you will either hardly feel or feel a slight pinch or pressure when being inserted. When the needles are gently stimulated it will produce a unique sensation that oriental medicine calls de qi.  Patients describe this sensation as heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling.  Most patients find these sensations deeply satisfying and intriguing. Most importantly, patients leave feeling deeply relaxed mentally and physically

What Is The Goal For Anxiety Acupuncture Therapy ?

That relaxation response means less stress for you and a reduction in related symptoms like insomnia, headaches, and fatigue. A popular theory: The needles block the release of stress-related hormones cortisol and neuropeptide Y.)

Smile! That endorphins in endorphins and other “happy” neurotransmitters, including serotonin, leads to a palpable mood lift, especially if you’re a frequent patient.

Can Acupuncture Be Done In Conjunction With Other Therapies?

Acupuncture can be with or without other therapies such as counseling & phsyciatry. Integrative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that includes everything from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes. Examples of integrative therapies include acupuncture, guided imagery, yoga, hypnosis, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage and many others.

What Does Acupuncture Studies Suggest?

Medical studies have confirmed the benefit of acupuncture as a treatment option for depression. For example, a 2013 study published in PLOS that enrolled more than 750 people with severe depression found that those who received acupuncture saw their level of depression decline slightly more than those who received just counseling, and much more than patients who received usual care, such as medication. And the benefits of acupuncture lasted as long as 12 months after treatment ended for some patients.

In Depth FAQ

Is acupuncture safe for Anxiety & Deression ?

Yes. Only sterile disposable needles are used. Because of the training an Acupuncturist receives, acupuncture is very safe. If a comprehensively trained acupuncturist performs the treatment, your safety is assured.

Acupuncture needles are very thin. Most people do not find the insertion of such hair fine needles to be painful. Acupuncture needles are hair fine, unlike injection needles, which are thicker, hollow and have cutting edges. This is why acupuncture feels nothing like getting a shot or having blood drawn.


Is acupuncture effective for panic attacks?

many people with panic attacks do benefit from acupuncture treatment, and we need to explain a little about how Chinese medicine works to understand this. research has noted that acupuncture appears to have a calming effect.

What is the difference between Anxiety and depression

Mental health is complicated. While experts have created specific diagnoses for different types of disorders, the truth is that many disorders have a great deal of overlap, which can make it fairly difficult to differentiate between two separate problems.

One of the most common issues that people have is trying to tell the difference between anxiety and depression. While the two share a lot in common, they are separate conditions, and your disorder plays a very important role in your treatment.



  • Apprehension over what’s about to happen and what could happen in the future.
  • Worried thoughts, or a belief that something could go wrong.
  • Feeling like you need to run away or avoid things that could cause further anxiety.


  • Feeling of sadness about the future, as though it’s hopeless.
  • Listlessness, and a lack of belief that positive things will occur.
  • Little worry, but instead a certainty of future negative emotions. Possible suicidal thoughts.

What is the age range for Acupuncture treatments ?

There are no age restrictions on acupuncture treatment. The only limiting factors are the informed consent necessary for treatment and relatively small number of clinical circumstances where treatment is contra-indicated or inadvisable.

At the ‘lower’ end of the scale, children under the age of 16 have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and consent lies with the parent. A child of 14 or 15 is now deemed by case law (this used to be called ‘Gillick competent’) to be able to refuse to have treatment, but we have not yet encountered any cases where a 14 or 15 year old has sought treatment when accompanied by a responsible adult who is not their parent or guardian. We would take legal advice should this question be asked of us; it is a highly technical argument.

how to choose an acupuncture practcioner for Anxiet & Depression?

1 – Ask Friends for Referrals 

Just as with any medical practice, the best way to learn about your options is by talking to other people.  With so many people trying out acupuncture, chances are you know people who have received treatments from local practitioners – so just ask!  Sometimes that’s all the information-gathering you’ll need to do.

2 – Research Online

specialty (if any) and their individual philosophy and approach. You want to make sure you feel comfortable and at ease with your acupuncturist, as your sense of trust, safety and understanding is the foundation of working productively in partnership with your practitioner.


How to find an acupuncturist for anxiety & depression? continued.

3 – Consider a Specialist

While we occasionally get patients who simply want to “try out” acupuncture (and they are certainly welcome!) most people are going to be going to an acupuncturist with specific complaints.  By its very nature acupuncture is a holistic medicine and all practitioners are quite adept at dealing with various health issues. However, as with any other branch of medicine, some acupuncturists  have a specialty focus.  If there’s a need or ailment you have, this is the time to look for a specialist in that area. At Monarch Acupuncture & Wellness, we focus exclusively in women’s health–including fertility medicine, peri-natal care and hormones. That said, we end up treating a lot of other stuff, too!….especially pain, digestive issues, mood imbalance, autoimmune diseases and dermatological conditions.

4 – Convenience Factor

Acupuncturists aren’t on every corner but you still want to try to find one who’s as near to you (or your workplace) as possible.  Acupuncture is a bit like physical therapy….it is cumulative in its effect. So, most clients will require more than one session and sometimes in short succession.  Choosing someone who is relatively close by ensures that, once you leave your treatment feeling completely relaxed, you can easily travel home, rest, and let the effects of your treatment assimilate in your body.

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Why Do Acupuncture?

So Why Do Acupuncture & Whats The Value? 

Assuming that acupuncture is effective, however, it represents a very valuable anxiety treatment. That’s because acupuncture provides three separate benefits that are important to those living with anxiety:

  • Acupuncture could have an immediate effect.
  • Acupuncture reduces mental reinforcement .
  • Acupuncture deals with other issues.

Acupuncture could offer you immediate relief. While not every acupuncture session provides complete and full relief right away, as soon as you leave the acupuncturist (and in some cases the next morning), much of your anxiety should be down. Compare this to long term treatments that generally require you to work on your anxiety a little at a time over a long period of time. For those with severe anxiety, that can be advantageous.

Reinforcement is also a serious problem for those with anxiety, especially panic attacks. With panic attacks, a person’s fear of getting a panic attack actually causes a panic attack like a snowball effect, which of course confirms the fear and makes it more likely to happen again intensely in the future. Acupuncture, if effective, will reduce these thought processes completely, which in turn should reduce the potential for your anxieties to reinforce themselves.

Finally, while anxiety is a standalone condition, it doesn’t create itself. Often you have other issues in your life that can cause you some anxiety or contribute to the severity of your anxiety symptoms. Acupuncture could help with those as well. For example, you may find that you become more anxious or on edge after you feel like your heartbeat has increased. Acupuncture could then help. 

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Call us today to start having a better quality of life. We make sure every acupuncture treatment is at the highest standard. 

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