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Panic Attacks and Acupuncture

Acupuncture For Mental Well-Being

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a licensed acupuncturist is to deliver fast clinical results that directly improves the life of the patient. Acupuncture for the treatment of panic attacks is one of the more dramatic treatment protocols because of the immediate impact it has on patients’ lives. Often, from the time of the very first acupuncture treatment, the patient has a decrease in the frequency, intensity and duration of panic attacks. As the process continues, patients gain a greater sense of well-being, centeredness, self-confidence and control over their lives.

I remember treating a Vietnam veteran about ten years ago. Decades after his extreme combat experiences, he had never slept more than two complete hours consecutively. The stress, exhaustion and mental restlessness had withered this man to a shell of what he once was. Psychologically, he had made peace with his past. Physiologically, however, his body and brain chemistry had suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and he was unable to fully recover from the impact of his experiences.

After the first acupuncture treatment he was able to sleep up to about four hours per night. After a few weeks of acupuncture, his sleep pattern normalized. He no longer experienced panic attacks and no longer woke up covered in sweat from nightmares. He came in to my office for routine checkups until he felt fully recovered. It was incredible to see his face change. The stress fell from his eyes and cheeks. His complexion returned. His wooden exterior softened into that of a happy man. Eventually, he fell in love and got married.

Most panic attack patients at my clinic tend to be hard working individuals with very busy schedules. Everyday stresses in the workplace combined with family and relationship struggles tend to build up in the system until the psyche breaks. Combine some of the aforementioned issues with lack of time for reflection and rest, financial struggles and maybe a lack of community support and the average person may see the emergence of panic attacks. Here, Liver Qi Stagnation has the opportunity to turn into Liver Fire. It may also create a cycle of Liver Qi depression with either Yang Uprising or excess Fire. Naturally, the Heart Shen is poorly nourished as the Liver Yin is depleted. The Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang may be depleted and the consequent stagnation and lack of Yin essence may also create excess Fire. In some cases, Heat in the Blood may develop along with its associated bleeding disorders. Abnormal uterine bleeding and sensory organ disorders are not uncommon in these circumstances.