Anxiety is an emotional/ mental condition that most of us experience in our life from time to time as a reaction to internal or external stress. Anxiety often involves some physical symptoms like rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and muscle tension, as well as general worry and fear in the absence of clear physical danger.

Anxiety becomes a serious problem when it stops being an occasional passing feeling that we can easily overcome and becomes a chronic and debilitating feeling that prevents us from living a happy and satisfying life.

The common western medical treatment for anxiety is anti-anxiety medication, like Ativan, which usually results in a quick relief of symptoms but carry a definite possibility of side effects, such as drowsiness, rebound effect and habit formation.

Psychotherapy, especially Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, is the go to treatment form and considered to be highly effective in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and may assist clients in regaining their sense of control and well-being.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) approaches anxiety as an emotion that occurs when the balance in the heart system is disrupted. (in Chinese medicine the heart system is different from the western heart system and includes……). An imbalance in the heart system may lead to excessive “heat”, which, in turn, often leads to sleep problems and/or anxiety.

A stressful life, stressful situations and traumas can lead to imbalances in the heart system and cause anxiety.

Acupuncture treatment, which is a part of TCM treatment approach, works very well during the initial stage of anxiety and for acute attacks by relaxing the body and calming the mind. Long term and more severe forms of anxiety are treated also with Chinese herbal remedies with great success.

There are specific supplements, homeopathic remedies and western herbal remedies that are very important and helpful in the treatment of anxiety.

This post was written in collaboration with Dr. Michal Regev, Ph.D. Psychologist, specializing in the treatment of pre and post partum women.

Dr. Eyal Lebel is both a Dr.of TCM and Acupuncture, as well as a Master herbalist of “western herbal medicine” in Vancouver, BC.