TCM Student and Yoga Instructor
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for Adults is characterized by the National lInstitute for Mental Health as “excessive worry about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months...Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population.”
Anxiety is a modern term that does not have an exact equivalent in Chinese Medicine, but could be loosely defined as unresolved fear. Strong emotions, like fear, cause stress in the body which disrupts the flow of energy, or Qi. If you have ever had issues with feeling anxiety, you may have experienced heart palpitations (an unpleasant and sudden awareness of your heart beating- not necessarily faster), frequent sighing, insomnia, feeling of heat in the face, feeling of tightness/distention/discomfort or pain in the chest and/or abdomen.
To learn more...
As a patient with anxiety in Chinese medicine, you are evaluated holistically. Whether it is a complex combination of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events known or unknown to the patient, the therapies used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) work with the body on reestablishing harmony and balance from the inside out.
A licensed acupuncturist and herbalist/TCM practitioner will decipher the diagnosis after careful observation of the patient’s tongue, pulse, and body, plus a complete medical history intake, and then develop an individualized treatment plan. In the case of anxiety, the treatment plan will surely include acupuncture points
to calm the Shen (Mind), perhaps in combination with other TCM therapies such as herbal medicines, cupping, tuina, and moxibustion.
If you experience anxiety...
See if you can find these acupoints at home! Among some of the acupuncture points commonly used to calm the Shen are PC6, Du24, Ht7, and YinTang, which have the physiological functions of lowering blood pressure, calming the heart rate, and subduing an overstimulated nervous system. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of anxiety, you may want to try acupressure at home in between your acupuncture sessions. It’s easy! Just gently press with your thumb or index finger to stimulate these points 2-3 times a day for about 20-30 seconds. Talk to your local acupuncturist for more ways to deal with symptoms of anxiety such as deep breathing exercises, Qi Gong, or Tai Chi.