2 Clinical Studies: Treating Anxiety Disorders with TCM
Most common treatments in western medicine for anxiety are anti-depressant medication, anti-anxiety medication, and psychotherapy. Due to the side effects of long time use of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication, more and more people are looking for alternative treatments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine identifies external factors such as weather, dietary neglect, and an unbalanced lifestyle along with internal emotional disturbances as the main causes of the anxiety disorders. Herbal teas, acupuncture and massage are some of the ways that anxiety disorders are treated.
Anxiety disorder is comprised of a set of conditions that is expressed by the following symptoms:
Panic, fear, and uneasiness
Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
Shortness of breath
Underlying causes that may trigger the onset of anxiety disorders are:
A change in the chemistry of the brain
Being in a perpetual state of “fight and flight”
Medical conditions related to anemia and thyroid
Traumatic life event
How to Treat Anxiety with Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine, we associate anxiety and panic attacks to a deficiency in the body’s organs; heart, kidney and spleen. Panic and anxiety can also be caused by blood stasis, phlegm, and relatively poor flow of body energy. Through diagnosis differentiation, we use herbs and acupuncture to tonify the deficiencies and also create proper movement of body substance.
Clinical trials show that by using acupuncture, the body reduces the release of cortisol; a stress related hormone that can cause pain, inflammation, depression, exhaustion, accelerated aging and poor immunity. Acupuncture treatment will change your body state from sympathetic, “fight or flight” to parasympathetic, “rest and digest”. Due to our busy lifestyle, we exist in “fight or flight” and not in “rest and digest” in which natural healing happens.
Below are two clinical studies showing success in applying acupuncture and massage for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Clinical Study 1 - Acupuncture vs. Medication
(Clinical study report by Lipin Gao, Yong Zou from Jiang Su Tai Zhou TCM College Acupuncture department)
87 patients ranging from 27 years to 87 years were randomly divided into 2 groups. The treatment groups were given acupuncture treatments every 2 days with 30 minutes per treatment.
The acupuncture points used in the treatments are: Bai Hu (Du -20); Shen Ting (Du-24); Si Shen Cong; An Mian; Nei Guan (Pc-6); Shen Men (H-7); Zhao Hai (K-3); Shen Mai (UB-62)
The control groups were given anti-anxiety medication Alprazolam and Oryzanol daily.
Treatment results were measured with (SAS) Self-Rating Anxiety Scale and the following is the result chart. We can see with Acupuncture treatments for 2 sessions the total result is 92.9% comparing with control group with medication which is around 71.1%.
Clinical Study Two - Acupuncture & Massage
(Clinical study report by Yan Pu Bai from Guang Dong TCM university Acupuncture and Tui Na department)
160 patients ranging from 22 years to 60 years were randomly divided into 2 groups.
The treatment groups were giving acupuncture and massage on a daily basis for 30 days.
The control groups were given massage only on a daily basis for 30 days.
The Acupuncture points used in the treatments are: Bai Hui(Du-20), Ying Tang, Back Shu points of Lung, Heart, Spleen, Liver and Kidney and Five spirit points of UB-42; UB-44; UB-47; UB-49 and UB-52. These points are selected according to organ differentiation based on Chinese medicine theory.
The massage patients had massage on the following points: Du-20 Bai Hui; Feng Chi GB-20 ; Tai Yang points; Nei Guan PC-6 ; Tang Zhong RN-17 ; RN-6 Qi Hai and Zhong Wan RN-12
Patients were measured before treatment, 1 week, 2 weeks and 4 weeks after treatment by using HAMA (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale) and SAS (Self-Rating Anxiety Scale). The results showing that the treatment group with the combination of Acupuncture and self- massage has a total effective rate of 93.85% comparing with the controlled group of 80%.