RSSComplementary medicine effective for anxiety

Posted on Sat, 14 Dec 13

Complementary medicine effective for anxiety

Standard treatment for anxiety includes prescription drugs and counseling but a self-empowering, complementary and alternative medicine approach is also effective.

A pilot study set out to see if treatment of anxiety based on self-care using multiple complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies is helpful.

Over 6-weeks participants received weekly acupuncture treatments based on traditional Chinese medical (TCM) diagnosis and were counseled in in yogic breathing exercises, self- and/or partner-assisted massage therapy, journaling when they felt anxious, nutrition counseling and exercise.

The massages included aromatherapy with essential oils: (1) clary sage to relieve anxiety and fear; (2) lavender to relieve anxiety and promote sleep; and (3) bergamot to treat anxiety and depression.

At the end of the study there was a high commitment and participation in the various CAM treatments and significant reductions in anxiety. The CAM treatment also resulted in reductions in use of anxiolytic medication and physical pain.

“The findings in this pilot study suggest multimodal interventions focusing on self-care behaviors may be feasible for patients seeking therapies that are adjunct or alternative to conventional treatments” wrote the study investigators.

Further, “by expanding our understanding and acceptance of different types of medical theory and practices, such as TCM, the potential to improve clinical outcomes and a patient's quality of life, using fewer medications and medical resources, may be significantly higher than what is offered by our current options.”


McPherson F, McGraw L. Treating generalized anxiety disorder using complementary and alternative medicine. Altern Ther Health Med. 2013 Sep-Oct;19(5):45-50.

Tags: Anxiety, Massage,

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