Acupuncture reduces anxiety levels. Researchers from Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine investigated the efficacy of electroacupuncture at Huatuojiaji acupoints combined with scalp acupoints for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

The results were compared with a traditional acupuncture group and a drug therapy group. The electroacupuncture group had a total effective rate of 96.7% and the traditional acupuncture group achieved an 83.3% total effective rate. The drug therapy group, receiving paroxetine, achieved a 73.3% total effective rate. Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that electroacupuncture at Huatuojiaji and scalp acupuncture points is effective for the treatment of GAD.

GAD is characterized by excessive worry and a feeling of anxiousness. Symptoms include the inability to relax, difficulty concentrating, startling easily, insomnia, headaches, exhaustion, muscle tension, nausea, and irritability. There may be concomitant excessive sweating, difficulty swallowing, twitching, frequent urination, palpitations, and lightheadedness.

All three approaches investigated delivered significant positive patient outcomes. Interestingly, both forms of acupuncture that were studied outperformed the drug therapy. The medication used was paroxetine hydrochloride tablets, 20 mg, taken twice per day. Brand names for paroxetine hydrochloride include Paxil, Brisdelle, and Pexeva. Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) often prescribed for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. For the electroacupuncture group, 1.5” filiform needles of gauge 30 were applied to Huatuojiaji points slanted medially to a 0.5” to 1” depth. For scalp acupuncture, needles were applied to the emotional area as described by Wang et al.

Results were based on the Hamilton Anxiety Scale. Symptoms evaluated included those related to the muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, alimentary tract, urinary, reproductive, and autonomic nervous systems. Evaluations included changes in anxiety, nervousness, fear, insomnia, cognitive function, depression, and conversational behavior. The results indicate that electroacupuncture is effective in the reduction of anxiety.

References:
Sheng, G. B., Li, H. & Tang, Y. (2015). Clinical Observation on the Treatment of Electroacupuncture JiaJi Acupoint Therapy Combined with Scalp Acupuncture for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 31 (5).

Wang, W., Zhou, G. B. & Yu, Z. S. (2003). Dr. Yu Zhi Shun scalp acupuncture treatment clinical experiences. China TCM Modern Remote Education. (6): 28-31.

Tian, W., Yang, N., He, Q. R., Yang, T., Cui, J. M. & Wang, H. B. (2015). Efficacy of Wrist-ankle Acupuncture plus Auricular Point Sticking for Pre-exam Anxiety Syndrome.
Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 34 (4).

Bo, Y. & Chen, X. W. (2004). Effectiveness of Auricular Seed-pressing Therapy in Treating Secondary Pupils Pre-exam Anxiety Syndrome. Chinese Doctors. 18 (6): 541.

Tian, W., Yang, N., He, Q. R., Yang, T., Cui, J. M. & Wang, H. B. (2015). Efficacy of Wrist-ankle Acupuncture plus Auricular Point Sticking for Pre-exam Anxiety Syndrome.
Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 34 (4).

Bo, Y. & Chen, X. W. (2004). Effectiveness of Auricular Seed-pressing Therapy in Treating Secondary Pupils Pre-exam Anxiety Syndrome. Chinese Doctors. 18 (6): 541.

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