How effective is integrative medicine at treating anxiety? It works, say scientists

Anxiety disorders are an “invisible” illness that affects people from all over the globe. However, according to a study, integrative medicine can help treat these conditions.

The study, which was published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, aimed to gauge how effective integrative medicine (IM) can be when used to manage anxiety disorders. The research team also set out to determine the sociodemographic characteristics of patients from the Integrative Medicine Institute (IMI).

The researchers involved in the study spearheaded a documental analysis of clinical reports from the IMI’s database. Before the analysis began, the Ethics Committee of the Health Sciences Research Unit approved the project while all the patients whose data was being studied signed informed consents.

From January to August 2017, the IMI treated 259 patients. Out of the 259 patients, 30.5 percent were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Patients with an anxiety disorder had 10 sessions of IM where acupuncture techniques were combined with therapeutic massage. Every session involved an initial treatment of acupuncture for 30?minutes that was followed by a therapeutic massage which also lasted for 30?minutes.

Before the patients started all 10 treatments, their anxiety levels were measured through a self-perception five-point scale. The researchers assessed the anxiety levels of the participants at the end of the 5th and the 10th treatment.

Data from the study revealed that a whopping 75.29 percent of the patients looking for IM were female and that 34 percent were professionals working in intellectual and scientific activities. The individuals who were taking anxiolytic medication had higher levels of anxiety compared to the non-medicated patients.

After receiving a maximum of 10 treatments, which involved both acupuncture and massage, the patients’ anxiety levels went down by as much as 98.39 percent after only five sessions. It is interesting to note that women who received a tenth treatment session have lower anxiety levels compared to the men. (Related: Strong scientific evidence points to acupuncture as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders.)

The researchers involved in the study concluded that the therapies used were indeed effective. They added that both acupuncture and therapeutic massage can be used to help treat and relieve the symptoms of different anxiety disorders.

Data from this study will be used to design a “future randomized control trial study of acupuncture efficiency in the treatment of anxiety disorders.”

Fast facts on acupuncture

Acupuncture can be used to treat more than aches and pains.

  • Even though acupuncture involves needles, it doesn’t hurt that much. The needles used by acupuncturists are only as thick as a cat’s whiskers, and most of the time, the pain you feel is just like a mosquito bite.
  • Discomfort caused by the needles either goes away on its own or it eases up as an acupuncturist adjusts the needles.
  • Acupuncture can help treat body pain like back pain and menstrual cramps. It can also be used to treat conditions like allergies, chemotherapy side effects, depression, infertility, hypertension (high blood pressure), morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting.
  • During acupuncture, the human brain starts to release chemicals like endorphins or natural painkillers. Acupuncture also has an anti-inflammatory effect and it is good for your immune system.
  • Not everyone will require the same acupuncture treatment, even if they have the same complaints. Some people feel better after only a couple of treatments while others may need as many as eight sessions or more.

Read more articles about effective traditional cures for anxiety, like acupuncture and therapeutic massage, at

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