By Danisha Bogue, L.Ac. - December 4, 2023
Categories: General

In our fast-paced world, where stress and anxiety seem to lurk around every corner, many are seeking alternative ways to find calm and balance. Traditional Chinese Medicine is gaining popularity as a holistic approach to tackle anxiety head-on. Just like acupuncture has been celebrated for its ability to combat depression, it also holds a special place in the hearts of those seeking relief from anxiety.

The Roots of Anxiety in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine has its roots in ancient wisdom that view the body, mind, and spirit as interconnected aspects of one’s overall well-being. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, anxiety often signals an imbalance in the body’s vital energy known as “Qi” and the balancing forces of Yin and Yang. When these elements get out of whack, it can lead to emotional turbulence such as anxiety. Some areas of imbalance that can result in feelings of anxiety include: 

  • Liver  – The Liver is responsible for maintaining the overall flow of Qi in the body. When energy stagnates here, it can cause symptoms such as tightness in your chest, restlessness, irritability, palpitations, anxiety, and restlessness. 
  • Spleen – The emotion most tied to the Spleen is worry. This means that when your Spleen energy is out of balance it can lead to excessive worry – a hallmark of anxiety. 
  • Kidneys  – If your Qi imbalance is located in your kidneys, it tends to result in fear
  • Lungs – When your lungs are out of balance, they tend to contribute to the physical sensations of anxiety, such as palpitations and shortness of breath

Acupuncture: Your Path to Harmony

Imagine your body as a symphony, and each acupuncture needle as a conductor fine-tuning the performance. These tiny needles find their place along the body’s energy highways, known as meridians, helping to clear energy blockages that can make you feel out of sorts. This can lead to a sense of calm and relaxation, effectively reducing anxiety.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal medicine is another cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine, offering a natural approach to treating anxiety. Depending on your specific symptoms, your practitioner will determine the best herbs/herbal combinations to treat the underlying blockages. Some common recommended herbs include: 

  • Ashwagandha – has a particular affinity for the kidneys and has the ability to calm the mind and relieve anxiety and insomnia
  • Rhodiola – has the ability to clear heat (a side effect of stagnant Liver Qi), and can tonify Lung, Spleen, and Kidney Qi to help treat shortness of breath, stress, irritability, and insomnia
  • Ginseng – great for treating issues that have compromised your Qi, helping with anxiety, forgetfulness, and insomnia

Mind-Body Practices

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the mind and body are not separate entities but rather parts of a unified whole (something Western beliefs are finally starting to catch up on). Practices like Yoga and Tai Chi integrate movement, breath, and mindfulness to promote the flow of Qi and restore balance. These exercises not only help release physical tension, but also encourage a state of mental relaxation. By engaging both the body and the mind, these practices offer a holistic approach to managing anxiety. 

Diet and Lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle definitely play a role in keeping you happy and healthy. While food typically isn’t a quick fix, over time including nourishing and calming foods can be extremely beneficial in helping to rebalance and deal with anxiety. Some food recommendations include: 

  • Bitter Foods – can help to calm the heart system, and include foods like amaranth, quinoa, rapini, chamomile, alfalfa, rye, asparagus, and romaine lettuce
  • Mushrooms – have a calming effect on the body and strengthen the immune system and Qi
  • Green Foods – cleanse and strengthen the blood, relax the muscles. 
  • Shellfish – calm the mind
  • Silicon Rich Foods – help to strengthen the heart and nerve tissue. Includes foods such as celery, lettuce, and cucumber. 
  • Seeds – have a grounding, downward moving action on the Qi, helping to reverse Liver Stagnation. Chia seeds and Jujube seeds are particularly effective. 

In addition to adding calming foods to your diet, cultivating good habits like getting enough sleep, practicing stress-busting meditation, and sticking to a daily routine can help you on the path to a more balanced life. 

In a world where anxiety can feel like an unwelcome guest, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a warm, holistic embrace. It’s like a friendly chat with an old friend who knows just what to say to make you feel better. Whether through the gentle touch of acupuncture, the healing power of herbal remedies, the graceful movements of Yoga, or simply making small lifestyle changes, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a friendly toolkit for those seeking peace in a busy world. 

Be well.



This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.