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Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Help with Anxiety?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Anxiety sufferer

Anxiety is a normal part of life. We all experience it, and we need small amounts of it to fulfill life responsibilities such as getting out of bed, going to work, worrying about family, paying our bills, avoidance of dangerous situations and so on. We wouldn’t get anything done without a little anxiety!

However, recent research shows that 3.3 million, or 17% of Australians suffer from anxiety as a disorder. When anxiety becomes excessive, out of proportion, or prolonged to interfere with daily life, it can lead to panic attacks, flashbacks, and obsessive compulsive behaviours. There can also be constant irrational and disproportionate worry, fear, and avoidance of people or social situations.

Traditional Chinese Medicine sees physical health issues as interconnected to emotions. Mind and body are not seen as separate as but one manifestation of the body and organ functioning state.

In Chinese Medicine, bearing in mind that the functions of organs vary from modern medicine, anxiety may result from different causes. We categorise symptoms into “patterns”.

For example, symptoms such as pale complexion, cool clammy hands, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, exhaustion, dry hair, insomnia, easily bruising, feeling overwhelmed, prolonged or heavy menstruation and dizziness may indicate a pattern of “blood deficiency”. There may or may not be palpitations, phobias, and panic attacks, and the anxiety may alternate with depression. In this case, we would address this by redistributing the patient’s energy (with acupuncture and/or herbs) for the spleen to produce more blood to nourish the heart and body and calm the emotions. Making some changes to diet can also be very beneficial.

It is important to consider that this is just one Traditional Chinese Medicine “pattern” of anxiety, there are numerous more, depending on the patients’ signs and symptoms, all with different symptom relief strategies. This example is also simplisitic, often there are several patterns occuring simultaenously. Additionally, symptom relief is usually not immediate, and often improvements require time to take effect.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal strategies have shown some promising results in research, although more studies are needed. The last 2 references are 2 such studies.

A medical consultation with your general practitioner should be the first point of contact and essential.

Book your consultation now with us if you suffer from anxiety.

If you are interested in herbal medicine only, we can do this via telehealth consultation and mail you the herbs. A great time-saver!

Feel free to comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts or answer your questions!


Maclean, W (2018) Clinical Handbook of Internal Medicine. 2nd Ed. Eastland Press Seattle.


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