acupuncture for stress and anxiety Melbourne

Acupuncture for Stress & Anxiety

July 30, 2018

Acupuncture for Stress & Anxiety in Essendon, Melbourne

Acupuncture for stress and anxiety in Essendon, Melbourne is performed by registered Acupuncturist and Herbalist. Our practitioners have a clinical focus on working with patients with stress, anxiety, and mood related concerns.


What is Anxiety? 

Anxiety is an umbrella term used to describe a group of mental health related symptoms and conditions. Anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, and panic disorders. They can also include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Anxiety disorders all cause a common trend in symptoms, such as chronic fears and intrusive or distressing thoughts, and these thoughts can interfere with normal life (Better Health Channel, 2018). Anxiety disorders are more than just feeling stressed and worried – the feelings persist after the stressful situation has eased or can occur for no reason. Many people can experience stress induced anxiety, that can lead to an interruption in quality of life as well (Beyond Blue, 2018).


What are the symptoms of anxiety? 

The symptoms of anxiety are varied and can include the following:

  • Physical symptoms such as panic attacks, hot flushes, chills, palpitations, chest tightness, breathlessness, difficult breathing, restlessness, feeling tense, and digestive symptoms such as a knot in the stomach.
  • Psychological symptoms such as obsessive thinking, excessive fear or worry, disturbed sleep, racing thoughts, and feeling edgy.
  • Behavioural symptoms such as avoiding situations that might make you anxious, such as social events, study, work or driving (Beyond Blue, 2018).


How does conventional medicine view and treat anxiety? 

Anxiety disorders are usually diagnosed by your GP, psychologist or psychiatrist. There are a number of tests for determining which type of anxiety disorder an individual might be experiencing. Once a diagnosis is established, treatment is then recommended.

Conventional treatment for anxiety relies on either medications or psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Medications such as anti depressants that have anti anxiety effects are often recommended for long term management, whilst benzodiazepines are typically recommended for short term symptom relief (Beyond Blue, 2018). Psychotherapy is a very common approach used for anxiety disorders as well. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is one such method. CBT is a organised psychological treatment that aims to change thinking and behaviour patterns. It encourages understanding the difference between positive and negative thinking patterns and how to let go of worries and solve internal problems (Beyond Blue, 2018).


How does Chinese medicine view and work with stress and anxiety related symptoms? 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the body and mind as being one in health. So whatever happens to one, will affect the other. Anxiety is a clear example of this as physical and psychological symptoms often occur hand in hand. TCM has a focus on understanding how the body-mind got to this point of imbalance, identifying the particular imbalance, and then seeks to restore wellbeing using a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional and lifestyle advice.

Recent research has shown that acupuncture can aid in the management of the stress and anxiety symptoms. A systematic review by Amorim et al. (2018) found there is evidence to support acupuncture (including electroacupuncture) in aiding in the relief of anxiety symptoms, and that they have fewer side effects than conventional treatment. Auricular (ear) acupuncture was also found to be able to reduce stress and anxiety related symptoms in health care professionals who were experiencing work related stress (Buchanan et al., 2018).

In other setting, a number of studies have found that acupuncture may reduce stress and anxiety related symptoms in the lead up to surgery, which can be a very stressful event in an individual’s life. Quinlan-Woodward et al. (2016) found that women receiving acupuncture post mastectomy had a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, as well as nausea and pain, on the day of their surgery. Bae et al. (2014) conducted a meta-analysis study that showed that true acupuncture reduce pre surgery anxiety significantly more than sham or placebo acupuncture.


What should I expect during my acupuncture treatment for stress and anxiety? 

A typical acupuncture consultation at Essendon Natural Health will last about 60 minutes from start to finish. Our Registered Acupuncturist and Herbalist, Lachlan McDonald, has a clinical focus on working with patients presenting with mood and sleep related concerns. He has a lot of experience in this area and has a previous background in social work and psychology.

Firstly Lachlan will ask about how stress and anxiety manifests in you, including the physical, psychological and behaviour related symptoms. He will investigate other aspects of your health and lifestyle, such as your digestive health or energy levels. He may go on to feel your radial pulse, palpate abdominal reflexes or look at your tongue. These traditional diagnostic tools help to understand the bigger picture behind why your body-mind became imbalanced in the first place and what can be done to adjust this.

From here, Lachlan will plan out the acupuncture treatment. For most patients, this is a very relaxing experience with many patients falling asleep on the table. Lachlan uses very fine needles which reduce any discomfort and he can adjust his technique to suit the most sensitive of patients. You might feel needled areas getting warm, or heavy, and the acupuncture works on your nervous system. You will then lay down or recline for around half an hour, with the lights turned down and the music on.

After the session, Lachlan will access how you are feeling and may suggest any dietary/lifestyle changes, as well as herbal or nutritional supplements for you to take between appointments. Any further questions can be answered here before the session is concluded.


How do I find out more or make an appointment?

To book your acupuncture for stress and anxiety appointment today, please call the clinic on 9337 8572 or book online.




Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S.M., Amorim, N., Costeira, C. & Machado, J. (2018). Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 31, 31-37.

Bae, H., Bae, H., Min, B-I. & Cho, S. (2014). Efficacy of acupuncture in reducing preoperative anxiety: A meta-analysis. Evidence- Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 2014,

Better Health Channel (2018). Anxiety Disorders. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2018].

Beyond Blue (2018). Anxiety: The facts. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2018]

Beyond Blue (2018). Anxiety: Signs and symptoms. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2018]

Beyond Blue (2018). Anxiety: Treatments for anxiety. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2018]

Buchanan, T., Reilly, P., Vafides, C. & Dykes, P. (2018). Reducing anxiety and improving engagement in health care providers through an auricular acupuncture intervention. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 37 (2), 87-96.

McDonald, J. & Janz, S. (2017). The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A comparative literature review (Revised Edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017.

Quinlan-Woodward, J., Gode, A., Dusek, J.A., Reinstein, A.S., Johnson, J.R. & Sendelbach, S. (2016). Assessing the impact of acupuncture on pain, nausea, anxiety, and coping in women undergoing a mastectomy. Oncology Nursing Forum, 43 (6), 725-732.

Wiles, M.D., Mamdani, J., Pullman, M. & Andrzejowski, J.C. (2017). A randomised controlled trial examining the effect of acupuncture at the EX-HN3 (Yintang) point on pre-operative anxiety levels in neurosurgical patients. Anaesthesia, 72 (3), 335-342.

Robert Gentile

B.C.M (Hons), C.Clin.Prac (China), C.Toyohari. Registered Acupuncturist and Herbalist. Integrative Natural Medicine Practitioner.

Robert is a passionate and warm practitioner who has an extensive knowledge of integrative and functional natural medicine. He is down to earth and has an interest in organic foods, gardening and sustainable living. With over a decade of experience, he is renowned for being very thorough by both fellow practitioners and patients alike.