Acupuncture and Anxiety



A Series of Understanding Pathways Imbalances and Symptoms


In this series of articles on my blog I will discuss Anxiety in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I will go through each pair of pathways that are imbalanced or becomes imbalanced developing the Anxiety we have. Each pair will have their own set of symptoms that arise. I will share acupuncture point prescriptions I use to help. I will explain how Acupuncture can lessen symptoms of anxiety, diminish issues anxiety causes in everyday life bringing overall harmony.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine Anxiety is caused by an imbalance in one or more than one pathway. We have 12 pathways in our bodies. Each pathway corresponds to an organ it runs through. Each pathway has a partner ( another organ) it works with closely. These pathways eventually lead into the other 12 to build if you will a highway of sorts in which the energy, blood circulation and other bodily fluid circulation occurs. This is how Acupuncture is all inclusive. Using one or more acupoints can send movement through out other pathways to restore balance.


Imbalances are when the energy in a pathway becomes blocked, pushed, or slowed. When this happens it changes the energies flow. Once the flow has been disrupted it will cause certain symptoms to occur. Along with tongue checking, pulse, listing the symptoms an acupuncturist can assess which pathways are effected.


The pairs of pathways I’m discussing are in no particular order. Each can happen on their own or one after another or even at the same time. It always depends on the individual.


The first pair of pathways I will discuss is the Spleen/Stomach pair. Each pathway deals with particular emotions.

Spleen and Stomach Qi deals with worry, overthinking and dwelling on something. Most significant symptoms that occur are tiredness, loss of appetite, acid reflux, belching, bloating, loose stools, diarrhea and excess menstrual flow.

Symptoms triggered by emotions can be but not limited to migraines, panic attacks, urgency to go.

Western diagnosis' are General Anxiety, OCD, IBS, and Fatigue

Spleen energy should be flowing up and Stomach energy should be flowing down. When they are deficient their energy flows in the opposite directions causing the above symptoms. The TCM diagnosis’ would be Spleen Qi Deficiency, Spleen Yang Deficiency and Spleen Qi downward, Stomach Qi Deficiency, Stomach Excess Qi (Stomach Fire).

Acupuncture points specific to moving the Spleen or Stomach Qi back to their respective flow will ultimately quell calm and stop those physical and emotional symptoms.


All patients that come for Anxiety treatments will have what I like to call Foundation prescription points and then individual points depending on the pathways effected.


The Foundation points are areas that build our blood circulation, harmonize our immune system, and help both ground and calm our energy. We need this foundation to bring our systems to their optimum to be able to accept and let other points do their jobs easier.

The points I use come from the Spleen, Stomach, Kidney, Liver and Large Intestine.

They are Sp 6 (Sanyinjiao), St36 (Zu San Li), KD 3 (Tai Xi), LV 3 (Tai chong), LI 4 (He Gu), along with an extra point we call Yintang, and an auricular point called Shenmen.


Once pathway or pathways are identified I would use specific points that help with reported symptoms. Usually a patient would need 6 to 10 treatments to make a difference and then have 1 to 2 per month to maintain the levels. Acupuncture is a beneficial way to keep a balanced life style.


I hope this first part in my series has been informative and interesting, thank you for taking the time to read it! Email me with any questions at lisa.mackay@comcast.net.



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