MRI Anxiety? Study Proves Acupuncture Can Help

It’s a cold, hard fact that nobody in the world enjoys getting an MRI — a procedure used for diagnostic imaging that involves immersing yourself in a well, cold and hard machine.

 

For people with claustrophobia, it can be a real nightmare.  

 

Yet thanks to a recent study published by HealthCMi, acupuncture can help.

 

Researchers at the Heilongjiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that true acupuncture proved more effective than “sham acupuncture” (the control group”) in treating those who suffer f claustrophobia during an MRI.

 

Claustrophobia can be extremely problematic for both the patient and the imager. The patient may begin to feel panic attacks o extreme nervousness, and unable to continue with the procedure — leading to inconclusive results.

 

So researches set out to treat the nervousness and fear by, “soothing the liver qi, tonifying the kidney qi, and stabilizing the spirit and mind.”

 

Those who received that treatment achieved a 92.5% effective rate. Those who did not? Twenty-five percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.

 

So, acupuncture clearly worked.

 

For one session with a 30-minute needle retention rime, the rotating and twisting technique of acupuncture was performed at the following acupoints:

 

  • KI6 (Zhaohai)

  • LV3 (Taichong)

  • HT4 (Lingdao)

  • PC6 (Neiguan)

  • HT7 (Shenmen)

  • CV17 (Danzhong)

  • GV20 (Baihui)

  • GB20 (Fengchi)

In the sham group, they were inserted elsewhere, at irrelevant points.

 

After the treatment, the patients were evaluated using the SAI, or State Anxiety Inventory which assessed their emotions and anxiety. When, “fear and relevant symptoms showed improvement, and a patient could complete an MRI examination,” it was considered effective — which was 92.5% of the time.

 

The bottom line? Acupuncture before an MRI just might make a world of difference.

Using Acupuncture to Treat Trauma

The mind/body connection is truly undeniable. When one isn’t working properly, you can bet the other isn’t either. This is perhaps nowhere more complicated than in individuals dealing with trauma.

  

Trauma is a multifaceted word that embodies so much. Pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, memory issues, terror, difficulties adjusting to post-trauma life — it’s almost endless. But if you work to heal the mind, you can often heal the body. And you can use the body to heal the mind, too.

 

But with what, you might ask? Acupuncture, of course. In fact, it’s a proven way to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep, which naturally lends itself to improved mental health. In dealing with something as serious as trauma, the smallest improvement can mean a world of difference.

 

As reported on Rfi News, acupuncturist Elise Boghossian packed up her acuneedles and headed to Iraq, leaving her lie behind in Paris and setting out to bring healing to kidnapped and enslaved women in northern Iraq.  

 

She told the site, ““The first time I went to Iraq I was completely alone. I didn’t have colleagues or work with a specific organization. I just had my acupuncture needles to offer people pain relief.”

 

Through her experiences, she eventually founded NGO EliseCare, an organization with six sites throughout Iraq that offer free medical consultations, continuous psychological care to patients, and medical training in acupuncture, emergency medical care, gynecology, radiology and biology.

 

You can watch her story, here.

Top 10 Tips for First Time Patients

Trying anything new for the first time can be overwhelming and even a little scary. Pair that with the concept of essentially having a stranger stick “needles” in your body, and it can be downright terrifying – but it doesn’t have to be, nor should it be.

At NJ Acupuncture Center, we fully understand that first time patients may be a bit apprehensive. SO, we put together this handy little guide of the top 10 tips for first time acupuncture patients. You can thank us later.

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1.     Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing.

Depending on your needs, you can receive acupuncture treatment from head to toe. Therefore, it is essential to wear loose fitting clothing that is both comfortable, but can also be rolled or pulled up for access to all necessary meridians.

2.     Turn off your cell phone.

Unplug! This is “you” time. To best relax, turn off your phone – don’t put it on vibrate. (You’ll still hear it!)

3.     Be open and honest.

Share any medical experiences and concerns with your acupuncturist. Any emotions you’re struggling with or past experiences can only help you to receive the best treatment.

4.     Write down a list of questions, comments or concerns.

Acupuncture will work best when both you and your practitioner and you are on the same page. If you have any questions, comments or concerns -  as well as treatment goals – write them down so you don’t forget anything during your consult!

5.     Be mindful of scheduling.

It is ideal to schedule your appointment at a time that you can then relax afterwards. Though, if you can only squeeze in lunch-break appointments, any time slot is better than none. 

6.     Eat something light.

You don’t want to be super full, or super starving for your session. Ensure that you’ve eaten something light and healthy prior to your time.

7.     Show up early.

For your first appointment, there will be intake paperwork. Show up at least 10-15 minutes early to ensure you have ample time to thoughtfully and accurately complete any paperwork that is needed.

8.     Avoid caffeine.

You’ll want to be able to lay still and relaxed during your time here. So, chugging a large iced coffee prior to coming isn’t the best idea. (Really, it’s not a good idea at any time, but more on that later.)

9.     Breathe

It’s a human reaction that at times when you’re nervous or anxious, you hold your breath. Remember that breath is your life force! Breathe regularly and consistently. Focusing on your breath can help to deepen your relaxation.

10. Relax and enjoy!

 

Calm the Mind with Acupuncture

In a time where our mind and bodies are forced to constantly be on and connected, its becoming more and more difficult to just relax. With longer workdays, social pressures and increased connectivity, its nearly impossible to unplug which can be especially harmful for those that suffer from anxiety.

Luckily, anxiety is treatable.

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You might have heard that talk therapy, physical activity, and medication are all viable options for anxiety relief, and that’s true for many. Yet often forgotten about is the holistic, natural and ancient approach of combating chronic worry and tension with the art of acupuncture.

If you’re having trouble relaxing or sleeping, are consumed with negative thoughts or are tired of feeling jittery all the time, we can help.

But how, exactly?

Perhaps this recent article from Everyday Health puts it best when it states, “Depending on where the needles go, acupuncture can cause the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals, jump-start the body’s natural ability to heal itself, or stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety.”

In a personal testimonial found over on You Beauty, writer Avital Norman Nathman shared, “After a month of regular treatments, I couldn’t help but notice a difference. I would always have the best sleep of the week the night after my acupuncture appointment. And I would also feel lighter. My chest wouldn’t be clenched as tightly and the raw current of anxiety that seems to continuously float just beneath the surface of my skin was dissipate for a while, allowing me to experience a semblance of normalcy, if only for a little while. And I’m not the only one finding relief for anxiety with acupuncture.”

The actual acupuncture session itself can be quite calming, too – especially at NJ Acupuncture Center.  At our facility, we provide comfortable and heated beds, soothing music, essential oils for aromatherapy, and infrared heat to help calm the nervous system and encourage pure rest. 

Our massage options are also a great opportunity to soothe and muscular tension resulting from anxiety. 

If you find that fear, worry or anxiety has an unwanted presence in your life, it’s time to calm the mind and consider adding acupuncture into your wellness and self-care routines. We’d be honored to play a role in the healing process.