Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Using TCM to Treat Anxiety

Anxiety can be a normal reaction to stress which helps people cope with isolated situations such as an exam, new job or activity, however according to the National Institute of Mental Health there are roughly 40 million American adults over the age of 18 that have an anxiety disorder in any given year.  This means approximately 18% of the adult population suffers from some type of anxiety disorder whether it be post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder or phobias.

Pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy are mainstream treatments for anxiety however some people look to more natural therapies for treating anxiety conditions.   A recent study confirmed there are natural therapies that are effective.  Some specific herbs such as passionflower and kava along with nutritional supplements have shown positive effects for anxiety or anxiety related disorders.

Herbs such as passionflower are different than the herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. In TCM herbal prescriptions are created based on symptom analysis and the resulting diagnosis.  Herbs are combined to maximize the efficacy and minimize side-effects and toxicity.  There are some common herbs used in prescriptions based on which organ systems are involved.  According to Chinese medicine theory anxiety is primarily related to imbalances in the Heart, Kidney and Lung organ systems.  Herbs such as, dan shen (salvia), hu po (amber), he huan pi (mimosa tree bark), fu xiao mai (wheat), long yan rou (dragon eye flesh fruit), fu ling pi or fu shen (poria fungus skin or around root), wu wei zi (schizandra fruit) and lian zi (lotus seed) are frequently used in formulas used to treat anxiety.  As mentioned previously they are usually taken in combination with other herbs according to the individual's diagnosis.

Acupuncture is also very effective for treating anxiety often people coming in for other conditions will report they feel calmer, more centred and able to cope with stressful situations better.  Acupuncture treatment like Chinese herbal medicine is based on an individual's diagnosis and a point prescription will be formulated accordingly.  There have been some studies that show both body and ear acupuncture have some benefit for reducing anxiety symptoms.

Other alternative treatments such as Reiki, massage, music and binaural sound have also shown to be effective therapies for anxiety.  As with any condition it is recommended to consult your healthcare practitioner to assess which therapy will be most beneficial for your condition

No comments:

Post a Comment