Anxiety - The Full Spectrum
Updated: Apr 9, 2021
#Anxietysucks but you don't have to do it alone.
Here is the Full Spectrum on a very complex but simply treated condition - Anxiety.
If you have ever had a form of anxiety then you know how disabling and life-altering it can be. A nervous shadow sitting on your inner chair waiting to stand up and activate at any moment. It's absolutely terrible and more people are suffering from it more than ever.
If you have experienced anxiety then you have most likely have sought out help to cope, possibly taken prescription medications from your doctor, among other things under the moon marketed towards anxiety relief. This is where the words "The Full Spectrum" come into play when we are discussing anxiety. So, lets get to the bottom of it.
Everyone has a different underlying root cause of what exactly is triggering their anxiety. Your condition is specific to you and your unique lifestyle, therefore, your treatment should be customized to where you fall onto the spectrum of anxiety.
It is important for us to pin-point what exactly is triggering you. What may be triggering you is not the same trigger for your neighbor also suffering from anxiety. As holistic medicine practitoners in an acupuncture clinic, we treat the individual not just the symptoms. When you went to a western medicine doctor they may have prescribed you a pill to treat the symptoms. Does that really address the underlying factors causing your anxiety? No, its just masking the symptoms. Which, may at times be necessary to cope until you can address the root cause and learn how to cope with this on your own.
This is why acupuncture and its ancient medical theory are so effective at treating anxiety, because we treat the individual. Not only the symptoms. We dont use a cookie cutter to make all of the cookies. We shape each douch with our bare hands making it a unqiue custom piece unlike the others.f
So let's talk a little about what the common symptoms of anxiety are. A combination of these creates the spectrum of anxiety... Irritability, restlessness, racing thoughts, panic, fatigue, sweating, lack of concentration, excessive worry, excessive fear, feeling of impending doom, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, trembling, hypervigilance. When someone is experiencing an episode(s) of anxiety, it can be an extreme nightmare for them and they can't seem to shake the feeling. Their body is in "fight or flight" mode and their nervous system is hyperactive. Next question - What in the world causes this and how can I avoid ever feeling this way?!
Pointing your finger at one cause of anxiety is nearly as impossible as finding a needle in a haystack. It is usually a combination of lifestyle choices or past traumas that pile up onto each other leading you to somewhere on the spectrum. For our anxiety patients, we recommend a strict lifestyle change. If you religiously stick to these recommendations and changes, then you will for sure see significant improvement.
The key to enhancing your quality of life is to remember that positive changes are slow, but they are possible, and over time - you will get better.
Anxiety is a symptom of a deeper issue that we, as holistic medicine practitioners, will target. It is not you. It does not define who you are. It too, shall pass.
The biggest secret to success is consistency. Once you feel better, remain consistent in your new lifestyle changes and you will continue to reap the benefits of change and most importantly, controlled anxiety. Now, let's talk about what changes you need to permanently make if you ever what to feel better. Remember, following all of these recommendations strictly is important. It's like baking a cake... If you forget one or two ingredients like sugar and salt, it just won't taste the same. You are the cake. Use all of your ingredients.
Avoid at all costs:
Processed & boxed foods
Too much screen time
*These things will trigger your nervous system even more by causing inflammation in your body.
Include into your daily practice:
Plenty of water (8- 8 ounce glasses a day)
Moderate exercise (walking, jogging, cardio)
8 hours of sleep each night
Journal your thoughts (great before bed)
Massages and cupping therapy
Food-derived vitamin supplements
Sunshine (10 minutes a day)
Move your body (get up and move around when feeling stagnant)
All of these healthy changes are important because they help to detox your system from all things that lead to inflammation that triggers your nervous system. The goal is to calm your "fight or flight" sympathetic nervous system and activate your parasympathetic "rest and digest" system. For everyone that is something different. The best way to personally keep track and hold yourself accountable is to journal. Write down daily how you are feeling and actually check in with yourself. How are you feeling today? How is your mood? Where are your thoughts... positive, happy, negative, agitated? How does your body feel... strong, healthy, heavy, weighed down, depleted? Then keep track of what things you cut out of your daily habits and what things you add.
You are your own, very best science project. Learn from your choices, your mistakes, your growths and your triumphs.
What does a course of Acupuncture treatments look like for people suffering from chronic anxiety?
Your initial visit will consist of a complete medical intake and past health history plus your first treatment. Your practitioner will take an individualized approach, tailoring treatments and medicine to each of your specific symptoms, presentations, and overall health and life history in order to achieve successful healing. You will not be prescribed a “1 size fits all” treatment plan. Based on diagnosis and lifestyle, you may also receive a prescription of Chinese medicinal herbs and additional dietary/lifestyle recommendations may be suggested.
2. Follow up Appointments:
Acupuncture is a technique where very fine needles are inserted into specific points to increase energy flow along various channels (meridians) throughout the body to a particular tissue, organ, or organ system. Each meridian point treats specific symptoms and disorders depending on your unique condition. Acupuncture is used to treat the underlying disharmony and focuses on both the root cause and symptoms manifested by the imbalance. For medical application, acupuncture should only be performed by a practitioner with in-depth training, theoretical knowledge, and licensing (L.Ac.).
How often should I get acupuncture for chronic anxiety?
You will complete a course of 10 treatments close together. We will start your treatments by seeing you 2x/ week for 2 weeks and then 1x/ week for 6 weeks. This is because acupuncture works on a cumulative effect, therefore, we like to make your appointments closer together in the beginning. Once you finish your course of 10 treatments, then we can space your maintenance treatments aka "tune-up" appointments out to every 3-4 weeks depending on if you have symptoms come back and how you are feeling. Every case is unique, so your "tune-up" treatment lengths in between appointments will vary.
Other therapies that treat chronic anxiety -->
There are a combination of therapies that we can add to your acupuncture treatments and do in-between maintenance appointments to manage your anxiety. Some of these include gua sha, cupping, electrical stimulation, tui-na, herbal medicine prescription, and more. These will be added to your treatment plan on a case-by-case basis.
Ready to start your healing journey? Give acupuncture a try.