Why Acupuncture works for Anxiety

We all experience certain levels of anxious feelings and uneasiness in our daily life. Sometimes anxious feeling can even uplift mood and give extra energy as excitement and restlessness.  However this unsettled state continues for a long period, it turns into a barrier and difficulty in life.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, constant worries and fearful thoughts with physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure, tensed body, short of breath, spontaneous sweating, restlessness, difficulty in sleep and digestive problems.

Psychosomatic aspect of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

In TCM,  physical health issues are connected to a person’s emotional state (and vice versa).  TCM view emotions as an integrated aspect of organ functions, and sometimes the root cause of disease. TCM classifies emotions into seven categories, with each emotion corresponding to a particular organ. For example, the lungs are commonly linked to grief and the ability to let go. Liver with anger, Heart with joy, Kidneys with fear and Spleen with worry.

What is the perspective of TCM on Anxiety?

In TCM theory on anxiety is that a person can have excessive energy, also referred to as heat or energy (Qi), in the head. Symptoms of anxiety akin to this idea include insomnia, racing thoughts, and excessive worry. In such a case, the treatment would consist of inserting needles into various points on the body, such as the limbs and the head, in order to redirect the patient’s energy for calming the mind and promoting better sleep quality.

How does acupuncture treatment work?

In TCM, internal organs are working as a network. 5-element theory is the framework to explain how the organs are interconnected as holistic health in our body.

Heart belongs to Fire, emotions of joy and manifesting life dreams. Liver belongs to wood element that is a mother of fire, nourishes the heart and ensures the free flow of energy. Kidney is water element that is an oppositional element of fire, playing important roles as a root of life, balancing water and fire (Yin & Yang balance) and governing human reproduction & development through life time.

TCM treatment is based on harmonising  energy of the internal organs by recognising excessive & deficient condition and treating imbalance.

In acupuncture session, the practitioner takes a careful investigation on each client’s case by verbal intake, pulse, tongue observation and body palpation in order to diagnose and treat the individual condition.

Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural feel-good hormone and reduce the level of stress hormones like cortisol.

Anxiety recovery as a healing process

In my practice, I often encounter clients who search for a- quick- fix treatment to get rid of their complaints and symptoms.

Improving anxiety is a healing process rather than fixing or removing problems as soon as possible. We need time to understand  and re-learn about our body and mind in order to deal with the physical, emotional and mental challenges.

Healing process is a personal journey to learn to trust and connect  to our healing capacity living within our body.


About Jihae Ko

Jihae Ko is a registered acupuncturist, energy therapist and movement artist based in Amsterdam. She explores health of body, mind, emotion and spirit by integrating knowledges of acupuncture, somatic healing and art in her practice. She helps her clients to feel at rest and assist healing process where clients can connect to their own self- healing capacity.

She grew up with Traditional Korean Medicine; her father is a life long Korean medicine practitioner in South Korea. Initially she worked as a professional dancer and choreographer. She brings years of body knowledge into her therapy and movement practice.

She is a co-owner of Medicine Body Studio in Amsterdam.