How Acupuncture for Anxiety Works

Acupuncture is based on stimulation of our feel good and calming acupoints. It also works by reducing cortisol levels (stress hormone) and creating an overall sense of calmness in the body through stimulation of our parasympathetic nervous system.

For example, there are acupoints that are targeted for calming the mind, refreshing the brain and opening orifices, soothing liver and spleen.

Stimulation of the appropriate acupoints has a neuro mechanism that affects our biochemical markers involved in neuro signals that are activated when we suffer from anxiety and depression.

What Are the Benefits?

Numerous studies have investigated the power of acupuncture for anxiety and the results have consistently shown the positive effect of the procedure for treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).


What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a therapeutic method used to encourage natural healing, reduce or relieve pain, and improve the function of affected areas of the body. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at specific points on the body. There is no injection of any substance and the treatment itself causes minimal discomfort.

Our registered acupuncturist is also a registered physiotherapist. Raffy has had advanced acupuncture training in Beijing China and has trained directly under Dr. Sona Tahan. He has a special interest in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, providing manual therapy and personal interactions on each visit.

Clinical” acupuncture was developed in China as a system of diagnosing and treating pain and disease. It defines acupuncture as one component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which aims to balance energy and blood in the body in order to keep it functional and healthy. “Anatomical” acupuncture refers to a more modern approach taken today by western trained practitioners. When combined with a knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology, modern therapists can use acupuncture effective in treating a variety of conditions within the scope of the therapist’s practice.

What Is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is an oriental medicine therapy utilizing moxa, or mugwort herb. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a (non-smoke-able) cigar. Smokeless moxa is currently used in medical buildings, thus complying with all legal and health issues.


Practitioners use moxa to warm regions and acupuncture points with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and inducing a smoother flow of blood and Qi/energy). Moxibustion is considered to be especially effective in the treatment of chronic problems, deficient conditions (weaknesses), and many arthritic and musculoskeletal conditions.

Functions of Moxibustion:

  • To warm meridians and expel cold
  • To induce the smooth flow of Qi and blood
  • To strengthen yang from collapse
  • To prevent diseases and keep healthy

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture stimulates the body to produce its own pain-relieving chemicals called “endorphins”. These chemicals mimic morphine by attaching to opiate receptor sites found throughout the nervous system. Endorphins help to block pathways that relay pain messages from the body to the brain, resulting in relief of pain, general relaxation, and biochemical restoration of the body’s own internal regulation systems. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture, reducing inflammation and promoting physical and emotional well-being.


Acupuncture is very effective in treating a variety of painful disorders, both acute and chronic. The World Health Organization has identified the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems including:

  • Muscular and Neurological disorders: headaches, neck and back pain, neuralgia, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, tendonitis, sciatica, arthritis
  • Digestive disorders: gastritis, hyperacidity, spastic bowel, constipation, diarrhea
  • Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma
  • Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive disorders
  • Addiction, insomnia

In treating any illness or affliction, a correct diagnosis is important before any decisions are made regarding therapy. Each practitioner is required to treat illnesses within their scope of practice.


People experience differing sensations with acupuncture. Most patients feel only minimal discomfort as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there should be no significant discomfort. Acupuncture needles are extremely fine and are made from stainless steel. Two or three acupuncture needles would fit inside the barrel of a regular hollow needle used for injections. Only sterile disposable needles are used, preventing any risk of infection.

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