Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a psychological disorder together with a broad range of physiological symptoms. People with GAD feel anxious about a wide range of situations and they could have both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. They feel worried, irritable, inpatients and easily distracted. They could have various physical symptoms such as dizziness, pin and needles, tiredness, shortness of breath etc. It is widely accepted that anxiety impaired immune system function. Immune system defended you from illness. If your immune system is compromised, it does no good to your health.
Arranz L et al studied the effect of acupuncture in 34 women aged 30-60 with anxiety diagnosed and impaired immune function. Acupuncture was performed manually on 19 acupoints. A single session 30 min was employed. Before acupuncture and 72 hours after acupuncture, immune function was measured by blood test. They found that the best effect was seen at 72 hours after a single acupuncture treatment. They also studied long term effect of acupuncture. 12 patients completed 10 sessions in a year until the anxiety symptoms disappeared. The immune function was measured after a month at the end of a year treatment. They found that the immune function in these women was returned to the level closed to that in healthy control women. This study suggested that acupuncture improve immune function in women caused by anxiety.
There was another report comparing acupuncture with clonazepam in treating GAD. 80 patients were participated the study. 40 patients were acupuncture group and another 40 patients were in clonazepam group. Twelve medridians acuppoints were applied. Meaning quick needling at the apecific acupoints of each meridian for example, LU7, LI4 and HT7were applied. The total treatments were 6 weeks. Hamilton Anxiety Scal (HAMA) and brain activity were used to evaluate the effects. The improvements of the total HAMA scores could be seen in 2, 4 and 6 weeks in both group but the improvements were greater in acupuncture group. The brain activity was improved in both groups. So acupuncture could be a potential option for treatment of GAD.
Arranz L et al Am J Chin Med (2007) 35:35-51
Zhou XF et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2013) 33:395-8