September 26, 2016

By  Steve Hoffman

Stress, from work, family, social obligations. Pressure to perform, keep up, excel, push your limits. A constant stream of “news” that is meant to be stimulating. All of this can make even the most even keeled person anxious from time to time and for those dealing with anxiety issues, it can be frightening. Acupuncture can be a great alternative to medications and really help those who just cannot get the relief that they desperately want. With our recent posts about acupuncture points for headaches, the mechanisms for how it works can be a little easier to understand. But with emotional disorders how can acupuncture help. Anxiety is all a mental thing right? Well yes and no.

First of all, all of our organ systems are interconnected and what affects one can affect another. For instance, one persons “adrenal” response may be stronger than other peoples, so when this person is under stress, their body may be producing more hormones that can trigger anxiety. Another person’s digestion may be “off” leading to anxiety around eating and real physical discomfort. So getting to the root of the problem and addressing it, can help patients relieve their anxiety.

You also have to realize that thousands of years ago, there were not anti-anxiety medications (besides herbs which can also be quite effective) and there was no talk therapy to help with these types of issues so when you went to the village healer, who was an acupuncturist and herbalist, there were treatments and acupuncture points that could help with anxiety. I have listed out five acupuncture points that are great for reducing anxiety. If you get anxious or suffer with anxiety, take a few minutes, every day, to massage these points and see how grounded and centered you can become.

Governing Vessel 24 (GV24)

vessel-24Named Shen Ting or Spirit Court. The point is located on the center line of your head, about a half inch in to the hair line. This point is indicated for anxiety, palpitations, insomnia, headaches and vertigo among other things. The point is calming and is said to “quiet” the Heart (where the spirit resides in Chinese medicine) and calm the spirit. When there is too much energy or “qi” in the upper part of the body or head, these types of health problems can result. Thinking about this from a western point of view, there may be too much mental work going on, causing or exacerbating the problem and this point helps to alleviate that.

Yin Tang

Yin TangThis point is an “extra” point and while it is not technically part of a meridian, it does lie on the same line as the Governing Vessel points. It is located right in between the eyebrows and the name translates to Hall of Impression. This point is indicated for headaches and insomnia among other things. It is an incredibly calming point and I actually have patients request that I do this point. It is said to calm the spirit. If you ever wondered why it feels so good to rub your forehead when you are having a stressful day, this point and GV24 are part of the reason!

Governing Vessel 11 (G11)

governing vesselNamed Shen Dao or Spirit Gate, the point is located between along the spine, about half way down the shoulder blades. This is said to be along the “Heart” line on the back (a horizontal line across the back with points that are good for the heart and/or emotional problems). If you have every wondered why the area between your shoulder blades gets tight or sore when you are anxious or under stress, now you know why! This would be a hard place to massage by yourself (other than laying on a small ball and rolling back and forth) but hey, grab a pair of helping hands and tell them to get to work!

An Mian

an-mianThis is another “extra” point that is not located on a meridian. To find this point, go to the back of your head at the base of the skull. Move from the center line out until your finger finds a depression (this is GB20 which I talked about in my 8/31/16 blog). Continue moving your finger forward until you dip in to another depression, behind the ear lobe. The point is located right in between these two depressions. The translated name of the point is “peaceful sleep” and as you might imagine, it is good for insomnia. It is also indicated for headaches, palpitations and emotional problems.

Pericardium 6 (PC6)

pc-6This point is located about three fingers up from the wrist crease and is named Nei Guan or Inner Pass. It is indicated for, anxiety, palpitations, emotional problems, insomnia and irritability among other things. It is said to calm the Heart and the spirit. You may be familiar with this point if you suffer from motion sickness. The bands that they sell that go on the wrist to help with motion sickness go on this point. It is easy to see why calming a person would help with motion sickness.

Massaging these points when you are anxious or even periodically during the day can help to calm, ground and relax you.

Utilizing some of these points in conjunction with points that will address the root problem (adrenal fatigue, digestive problems etc.) is a powerful way to help combat anxiety. At Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, we can get to the root of your problem and tailor a treatment plan that will meet your individual needs so that you can get lasting relief.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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