Anxiety is a mental disorder that affects literally millions of people. It's an illness that often dovetails with depression and alternates from mild discomfort to almost uncontrollable panic with physical symptoms. While some medications have been known to ease anxiety, they may also suffer from undesirable side effects, suppressing the symptoms while making individuals chemically toxic.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach to anxiety problems is to treat them as disorders of Shan You Si, which are believed to affect the Zang Organs. The Heart Zang stores the Shen or spirit and each Zang Organ is responsible for one's emotions. The Liver Zang is tied to anger, the Spleen Zang to excessive worry, the Kidney to fear, and the Lung with grief and anxiety. A disturbance in one or more of these Zang Organs can cause an imbalanced emotional state.
TCM classifies the cause of a specific mental disorder according to how much each Zang Organ has been disturbed and how its Qi is affected. The flow of Qi or energy can be interrupted by several factors, including anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief. Acupuncture seeks to restore any imbalance between Yin and Yang. By inserting needles into the fine points of energy, the body's own healing process is stimulated to restore its natural balance. Treating depression and related conditions such as seasonal affective disorder or dysthymic disorder (chronic depression) with TCM requires the proper evaluation of the signs and symptoms of these conditions. Specific acupuncture techniques are advised to treat each condition. Changes in lifestyle and the adoption of self-help recommendations are also part of the healing process.