Tag Archives: anxiety

Stress – Condition Information

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There is a great deal of information about acupuncture for Mental Health on our blog, as well as on our mental health page

About the research: It is worth noting that in research, randomised controlled studies (RCT) are the most reliable in terms of quality of evidence, with a systematic review or meta analysis of numerous studies being the best way of seeing the overall picture of the state of the evidence. Below we have a selection of the available research, which does include some larger RCTs, and reviews of the literature alongside smaller studies. The n= figure tells you how many people were participants in the study.


British Acupuncture Council evidence based factsheet about Stress including specific research, trials and mechanisms of action for acupuncture in this condition.


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Anxiety – Condition Resources

Important to know: Chronic health conditions should be addressed under direct medical supervision of your GP or consultant, and acupuncture would be an adjunct or complement to usual care – we advise that you let you doctor know when you use this approach.

Roughly 1 in 6 of us experience anxiety. Evidence lies in a positive direction for the use of acupuncture, which is safe, and can be used alongside other modalities. The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) works with the charity Anxiety UK to provide acupuncture for this condition, and the researchers have generalised anxiety outcomes data from acupuncture patients having a course of six acupuncture treatments, with preliminary results very encouraging (n=30 – see BAcC research digest – link below).

The BAcC Research Digest discusses several recent trials and reviews, including:

An RCT where a statistical difference in anxiety levels was found for hospital nursing staff receiving an acupuncture protocol after 10 sessions (Kurebayashi et al, 2017; n=180);

A systematic review (13 papers) found encouraging evidence for acupuncture in anxiety disorders, and giving few side effects (Amorim et al, 2018), although they noted trial quality was variable, meaning further well-designed RCTs are warranted. Another review (Goyatá et al, 2016) looked at 67 articles for anxiety and acupuncture, stating that this is a promising area and echoing the call for further research.

Mechanisms of Action:

As per the British Acupuncture Council’s factsheet, there are many physiological studies on animals and humans looking at brain scans (fMRI), as well as levels of hormones and neurotransmitters in blood and other bodily fluids after acupuncture treatment that have shown effects of the treatment on downregulating the response to pain and stress in the body, particularly in the limbic system (for example Hui et al, 2010; fMRI in humans).


Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S.M., Amorim, N., Costeira, C. and Machado, J., 2018. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: a systematic review of the clinical research. Complementary therapies in clinical practice31, pp.31-37.

Hui, K.K., Marina, O., Liu, J., Rosen, B.R. and Kwong, K.K., 2010. Acupuncture, the limbic system, and the anticorrelated networks of the brain. Autonomic Neuroscience157(1-2), pp.81-90.

Kurebayashi, L.F.S., Turrini, R.N.T., Souza, T.P.B.D., Marques, C.F., Rodrigues, R.T.F. and Charlesworth, K., 2017. Auriculotherapy to reduce anxiety and pain in nursing professionals: a randomized clinical trial. Revista latino-americana de enfermagem25.

Takamatsu Goyatá, S.L., Valcanti Avelino, C.C., Marques dos Santos, S.V., Inácio de Souza Junior, D., Lopes Gurgel, M.D.S. and de Souza Terra, F., 2016. Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Revista brasileira de enfermagem69(3).


British Acupuncture Council evidence based factsheet about anxiety including specific research, trials and mechanisms of action for acupuncture in this condition.

British Acupuncture Council Research Digest – Anxiety Section (towards base of document)

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Acupuncture for anxiety and stress

I am often asked about acupuncture for anxiety and stress. We see a lot of patients for anxiety, stress, depression and other mood or motivational issues. Acupuncture is something that a great number of these patients have said has changed their daily lives for the better. This works best if they can address other lifestyle issues (e.g. diet, exercise, relaxation strategies), and we can very often recommend strategies and experienced colleagues to concurrently support these aspects if this is desirable.
Read More Acupuncture for anxiety and stress

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Acupuncture and depression, mental health

by Helen Smallwood, acupuncturist, Shaftesbury Clinic

This blog post will concentrate on the use and research regarding acupuncture and mental health, and with a particular focus on depression.

Acupuncture is known by many as being holistic, which means it looks at the workings of the body and the mind overall in an integrated way, as opposed to seeing them as separate entities. Some people are surprised when I tell them acupuncture can be very beneficial for mental health as their first impression is that acupuncture is a very physical therapy and they are mainly associating it with its uses for pain and injuries.

Read More Acupuncture and depression, mental health

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Acupuncture and the menopause: the evidence base and how it works

Acupuncture and the menopause; hot flushes

Acupuncture is increasingly used for many different conditions, but one that may not at first be obvious if that of menopausal symptoms, where acupuncture has been shown in studies to be of benefit. Here I will present information on acupuncture for hot flushes, and other menopausal symptoms of sleep quality, mood and anxiety, memory and cognition and general quality of life.

I’ll also discuss theories and scientific studies showing how acupuncture may be achieving these effects.

I will also touch on hot flushes of other causes, in males and females after cancer-treatment using hormonal drugs these can also cause “vasomotor symptoms”, also known as hot flushes.

I’ll discuss how research shows acupuncture to affect the hormonal system, and finally I’ll leave you with some information and links to follow up for the references and bibliography relating to this area.

Read More Acupuncture and the menopause: the evidence base and how it works

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