Q. Hi Honora, A few years ago I came to a seminar you taught. During that weekend, I remember you suggested an interesting treatment for anxiety disorder. A patient came in last week with anxiety attacks as a major complaint and I wondered if you could refresh my memory on that treatment. –Sarah in Chicago
A: Hi Sarah, There are several good treatments for anxiety disorder. In fact, acupuncture in general has an anti-stress, down-regulating effect on many patients. That said, however, there are several approaches that I suggest you consider as rotating treatments, using them in succession and then repeating from the beginning. Here you go:
- Start with Four Bars (often called Four Gates) as an opening treatment. While these needles are in, do some simple massage on the head and neck, dragging across Yin Tang and doing small circles on Tai Yang, GB 20, along the cervical spine and occipital ridge.* (The only time this is inappropriate is if the person really is not comfortable being touched and we do, on the odd occasion, get patients like that.) If they don’t like to be touched, but a needle into Yin Tang.
- The next time that patient comes in, hopefully within a few days, do the treatment that you saw me do, which is a cross treatment as follows.
a. Insert LI 4 and Sp 4 on the right
b. Insert Per 6 and Liv 3 on the left
c. If using Ion pumping cords, use black clips on the right and red clips on the left. Connect LI 4 to Liv 3 and connect Per 6 to Sp 4.
d. If using polarized needles, use Gold plated needles in place of the red clip and Stainless steel in place of the black clip.
e. Insert needles very shallowly, because electrical flow in the body is strongest on the surface.
f. No jewelry; don’t leave the room during tx; 15-20 mins or until they wake up.
3. As a third alternating treatment, you could do Miriam Lee’s Great 10 Needles adding points such as Liv 2 and LI 11 for excessive heat, Ht 7 and CV 17 for palpitations and severe fearfulness, or An Mian (extra point), Sp 6, and Ear Shen Men for insomnia.
4. In terms of self care, suggest that the patient use exercise, stretching or progressive muscle relaxation routines, calming music, aromatherapy oils, and an anti-inflammatory diet high in Omega-3a and plant-based protein and low in sugar and caffeine! While acupuncture can calm people down in the moment very quickly and effectively, in the long run the patient has to find ways to help him-or-herself as well.
5. I received a comment from a reader suggesting that, since most anxiety attacks are at least partially due to the qi and blood not nourishing and constructing the heart qi, herbal formulas that do this are vital for long term change in such patients. She is right about this, so if you have access to herbals, choose or create a formula appropriate for your patient to help rectify this pattern.
Hope that helps. If you want details of the theory that goes along with either Four Bars treatment, Miriam Lee Great 10 Needles Treatment, or ti Ion Pumping Cord treatment, check out my online CEU courses attached to these links. Thanks for your question and best wishes.