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I have had 8 treatments of acupuncture and it seems like the last week my anxiety has gotten a little worse.

Is this normal this far along in treatment? I just recently started taking the herbs that he recommend (since Sat) and they don't seem to be helping yet?

I am taking suan zao reng tang and one other for panic/anxiety. Should they be helping so far?

I was just hoping to feel some relief by is getting to much and I really do not want to have to go back to medicine again but I also can't live this way....

I have been going to treatment 2 times a week for the last 3 weeks. I just think I should be feeling better by now.


just curious how long it usually takes for the herbs to start helping... is it a week, 2 weeks...

I feel like you give really good information and are very knowledgeable that is why I keep asking you so many questions.

Thank you


Herbal Medicine is a slightly complicated art and the diagnosis and the formula both have to correct in order for the herbs to have the best response. The formula you mention, suan zao reng tang, is for a condition we call yin deficiency (what is most likely behind your anxiety). Rebuilding yin can be a slow process, so yin building formulas do not often have a quick response rate. Generally within 3-7 weeks you should be coming along well - particularly as you are also receiving acupuncture. It could be up to 2-3 months before you get the strongest effects however.

I'm not sure what the anxiety formula you are on but depending on what that formula is there may be a quick response rate or something longer like the yin tonic. We often use a formula, CZ, for many anxiety cases as it has both a relatively immediate effect (generally within 3-7 days) and a long-term effect on symptoms, etc. Other formulas have similar actions but many take somewhere in that 1-2 month time-frame (similar to prescription medicines) to really start working.


i am taking chai hu long gu mu li wan for panic/anxiety...

Should I be getting better after 8 treatments? Shouldn't you be seeing improvements by now? I really trust my dr and really like him.

He said that I would be getting better faster if I started the herbs along with treatments.

Do you think I might be getting over treated?


That's generally a good formula and seems appropriate to your case. I would give it another 3 weeks with the herbs. Some of the brain chemistry that is involved takes a few weeks to change (similar to going on an anti-depressant) and there is little you can do to speed up the process. So long as you are seeing change, albeit marginal, just hang in there. Exercise would also help speed things up - light jogging or even a simple brisk walk daily for 20-30 minutes will further balance the brain chemistry.


I wouldn't worry about being 'over-treated' - the different strands of Chinese medicine were meant to work together, and it is common to take herbs while receiving acupuncture, practising Qi Gong, or what have you. In my experience, the more options that are brought in at once, the faster the effect.


@Elixir - Just to clarify. The term "over-treatment" refers to the inappropriate use of excessively strong techniques within acupuncture, bodywork, energywork, herbal medicine, etc. that disrupt the patients healing. It does not refer to the use of multiple techniques which as you correctly point out can all be used in conjunction with each other correctly to foster healing. The poster is discussing the concept within that context and this would be the generally accepted definition of the term as it applies to CM.


I find that certain patients no matter how good the acupuncture points or herbs selected won't have their anxiety alleviated because these people have developed poor habits in dealing with worry and stress.

For this type of patient I usually recommend Dale Carnegie's book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living".

Hope you can use it as one more tool to combat anxiety.


I have to agree with Michael- the previous post. You can take all the herbs and get all the acupuncture, but if your conscious mind is running the show with fear based thoughts and beliefs, you are not going to progress like you want to. Additionally, if you have been on psychotropic medications for awhile, your anxiety could be exacerbated by the withdrawal from these medications.

Stick with your treatment, learn some new coping skills. If you do not experience significant results within 3-4 months, you might have to go deeper with some spiritual healing. I use Spiritual Response Therapy, an energetic healing technique that is practiced the world over with success.

Good Luck.


I find both of these comments slightly disturbing. You seem to be expressing a separation between body and mind that is common in western circles to discuss but doesn't exist in my opinion within Chinese Medicine - or at all for that matter. From my understanding there isn't a body/mind, internal/external, there is just a system. While I agree that anxiety may be difficult to treat and you need to work on yourself and all of that, to say that this is independent of what acupuncture offers is, I believe, quite incorrect.

I look at the healing process as more of a cyclical event and acupuncture and herbal medicine and the other million things you can do as simply part of the process that enables healing to take place. Certainly anxiety is not simply biochemical nor is it simply caused by our spiritual, emotional and/or social issues. A change in one, enables a change in the other and there is a trust and a faith in this process. So you do some acupuncture and/or herbal medicine, you feel a little better, this changes your outlook and behavior, this in turn further lowers the notch on your anxiety levels, you do a little more acupuncture, more behavior change, lower again, etc. until things reach a more controlled state. Each process enables all of the subsequent changes to take place.

In some ways, you will surely remark, we are saying the same thing - but I don't think we are. What I am hearing from you (and I may be incorrect) is try this, then that, until you get something to work as if all of these things are mutually exclusive. What happens through proper treatment is this works itself out. In other words, more people need the changes that CM provides to help them feel calm enough to work on their thinking, on their levels of physical activity, their diet, etc. These changes in turn allow even acupuncture (and everything else) to have a stronger deeper effect. What I am hearing from both of you is that acupuncture and/or herbal medicine may or may not work and if it doesn't it is largely the patients fault (or their issues are somehow deeper than acupuncture can reach - which doesn't make sense either) and you should continue pursuing all other avenues until you find the magic bullet. I simply don't agree with this.


There are many opinions and perspectives when dealing with a skeptical, resistant, or sabotaging client. The other piece is the inner conflict. Part of them wants to heal and part is fearful. They need help nuturing that fearful often unconscious part. You can do inner child, imaginal nuturing, or even work on the meredian or organ thah manifests the fear. Gool luck.


That's just my point, is that there is "no other piece" - there is only one problem. What I'm trying to express is that all of the "solutions" are mutually beneficial, not mutually exclusive. And from a practitioners perspective this process must be respected, accounted for in the treatment design, and expressed to the patient.


as a long term user of oriental medicine and patient for several rather serious conditions that western approaches ended up making worse, i've had to deal with severe anxiety at several stages in my progress. training and a predilection for noticing patterns allowed me to observe that many times this anxiety seemed to be related to toxicity from prior medications that had been put into circulation and was making its way out of my body. yes, i have used traditional oriental medicine to treat anxiety. all its modes have been useful -- herbs, backed at various times by acupuncture, by masage, or by qigong -- for treating anxiety, as well as for injuries, infections, and autoimmune problems. no matter what was being treated, sometimes anxiety was a temporary symptom and, at that stage, a sign of improvement even though it felt like the opposite in that moment that i was feeling anxious.

as a patient i also noticed that it was as important for me to pay attention to the good feelings when they emerged and not just the bad ones. so i learned to notice the times that the anxiety wasn't there, the times that i felt particularly good, that my breath came with unusual freedom, that my heart felt lighter or that joy or delight rose spontaneously for even a moment. then i could watch as these tiny moments grew longer. this made me more aware of the fact that the periods of anxiety were becoming shorter. what was always strange to me was how i could never see that moment when the periods that were good became so long that they grew together into all the time. i was always too busy living my life. then i would suddenly look back and realize that the problem i'd had wasn't there any more and wonder exactly when it had disappeared.

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