Age of Anxiety. Take Your Power Back.
Worry. Worry. Worry.
Have you ever experienced anxiety? I have in all shades from general anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. It is not fun. Most people don’t understand if they have never taken a trip down anxiety lane. However, anxiety disorder is a real and serious medical condition. It’s just as real and serious as physical conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
Anxiety is a worldwide epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 13 people globally suffer from an anxiety disorder. In the United States, it is the most common and pervasive mental health condition. On average, 40 million people experience an anxiety disorder a year. Of those 40 million, two-thirds are women. Unfortunately, many don’t seek out support and treatment. Those that find treatment usually get a pharmaceutical solution. I recently heard Ethan Kross, a psychologist, neuroscientist, and author, say that 1 in every 5 people respond to therapeutic drugs for anxiety. I was not surprised at this number because I have observed the outcome in my clinic. If they do work, medications are not the long-term solution with all the side effects. Therefore, people are looking for alternatives to reduce their anxiety. They are searching for more natural and holistic long-term solutions.
What is anxiety?
In simple terms, anxiety is your body’s response to stress, and it manifests physically, mentally, and behaviorally. It is normal to have occasional anxiety throughout your life. Like other emotions, anxiety is a built-in biological survival mechanism. It sends the message to put your body on high alert to prepare you to manage a perceived crisis. For example, the threat of COVID is real and something of great concern. The anxiety about COVID encourages us to focus our attention on the danger, to take the appropriate steps to manage it like washing our hands, social distancing, and wearing a mask.
However, it becomes pathological when we get stuck in the messenger loop of the perceived threat. Worry. Worry. Worry. The anxiety becomes persistent. You fear the unknown of the danger and find it difficult to accept the uncertainty. You can’t stop the cycle and feel it is out of your control. The irrational dread of everyday situations takes hold. All of this can be disruptive and disabling. The anxiety begins to interferes with daily activities and takes a toll on your health, relationships, and performance. It is time to take action. So how do you manage anxiety?
Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine
There are various strategies to reduce anxiety, but Chinese medicine has gained popularity as an alternative treatment over the years. However, it is not the new kid on the block. For thousands of years, acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used to treat anxiety effectively. It is a natural and holistic approach. Some clinical trials have reported a therapeutic effect comparable to medication. Of course, with fewer side effects.
Chinese Medicine always seeks the root cause of the pathology. Back in the day, the ancient scholars believed that causes of all physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual affliction are due to the disturbances in the flow of Qi or energy in the body. Anxiety is understood as a disturbance of the Qi energy of the shen, which translates to spirit. When the shen is disturbed, it will manifest as an elevated sympathetic nervous state. This is an increase in heart rate, a spike in blood pressure, palpitations, insomnia, headaches, spontaneous sweating, digestive problems, musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, dizziness, tremors, hyperventilation, and shortness of breath. Also known as the “fight or flight” response. In its most extreme form, the symptoms of a panic attack can resemble a heart attack.
Chinese medicine gets to the root. From this perspective, several syndromes can generate anxiety. With a holistic approach, a skilled acupuncturist will look at signs and symptoms, lifestyle, and observations to determine patterns of disharmony that are causing the anxiety. After diagnosing, the practitioner will choose appropriate acupuncture and herbal protocol to correct these patterns, relieving both the psychological and physical symptoms, bringing balance back to the mind and the body naturally.
Integrative Health Coaching
Integrative Health Coaching is another excellent long-term solution for reducing anxiety. It can be a fantastic resource and support. A health coach can suggest techniques, tools, and strategies that can help ease anxiety specific to your goals and lifestyle and can also work with you to identify what’s causing your anxiety in the first place. Anxiety is a messenger. It’s essential to figure out what message these messengers are trying to deliver to help you get out of the worry cycle. I find it very effective to combine acupuncture, health coaching, and herbal medicine for those struggling with anxiety.
Anxiety is on the rise due to the pandemic, and medication is not always the answer or a long-term solution. Natural and holistic treatments to restore the individual’s sense of well-being and harmony have never been more critical. If you’re interested in discovering how Chinese medicine and Integrative Health Coaching can benefit your mental health, let’s talk.
“The only way to optimal health is to take care of ourselves everyday emotionally, physically and mentally.”
Sheri Davidson, licensed acupuncturist and Duke Integrative Medicine trained wellness coach, specializes in preventative medicine. She loves sharing her passion for wellness living and Eastern medicine through her blog, The Wellness Inspired Podcast, and practice, Element 5, Acupuncture + Wellness in Rice Village District of Houston, TX. Also, Sheri currently serves on the Texas Medical Board of Acupuncture Examiners
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L.Ac. + Wellness Coach