Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) principles are applicable to the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Acupuncture and other TCM treatments are dependent on restoration of balance.
Disturbances in balance result in changes in nature, often expressed in living systems in the form of symptoms or signs of disease. TCM treatments are intended to restore balance. Balance is accomplished by influencing the vital energy, the Qi.
In TCM, psychiatric disorders frequently relate to energetic disharmonies involving the so-called Five Spirits. These are the Hun (the noncorporeal spirit), the Po (the corporeal spirit), the Zhi (the will), the Yi (the intellect) and the Shen (the mind and the connecting spirit.)
The treatment principle in TCM is based upon recognition of the pattern of disharmonies (e.g., overthinking because of Spleen Qi Deficiency with resultant disturbance of the Yi).
Acupuncture for Anxiety
Acupuncture is now commonly used in clinical practice for anxiety treatment, and is advantageous because it is less convenient, and less dependence-inducing (and thereby safer) than standard psychoactive drugs. Acupuncture treatment can be performed in a variety of manners, including general acupuncture.
In a study acupuncture appeared to be comparable in efficacy to drug therapy but this similarity could be explained by the small sample sizes leading to underpowering of studies, limiting the ability to detect a difference between treatments.
Can acupressure help with anxiety?
Acupressure has been believed to be one of the complementary therapies that could promote psychological well being.
The effects of acupressure on depression, anxiety and stress in patients with hemodialysis: a randomized controlled trial – findings from this study indicates that acupressure therapy delivered three times a week for four weeks was able to significantly reduce depression, anxiety, stress, and general psychological distress in patients with hemodialysis.
Self Treatment can be performed by applying pressure at the acupressure points that are used to reduce depression and anxiety without the help of another person.
An integrative review of acupressure interventions for older people: A focus on sleep quality, depression, anxiety, and agitation this review found some emerging evidences that acupressure can be beneficial for older people who suffer from sleep problems, anxiety, depression. Use of specific acupressure points, with standardized acupressure treatment protocols, may improve sleep quality and possibly psychological well being of older people.
Massage Therapy for Anxiety
Therapeutic massage is one of the most popular CAM treatments for anxiety, but has had few rigorous evaluations for diagnosed anxiety disorders.
A study by Sherman and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of massage for treatment of GAD by using therapeutic massage, thermotherapy (the application of heat to the body), or relaxation-room therapy. The study concluded that all three treatment arms showed some clinically significant improvements, perhaps due to a generalized relaxation response rather than any individual characteristics of the three treatments. In fact, given the lower expense of the relaxation-room, the authors suggested that this particular intervention might prove the most cost-effective for GAD patients who are interested in CAM for anxiety relief.