Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acupuncture

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition. It is brought on by a horrifying tragedy, either witnessing or experiencing it. Symptoms include anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks and uncontrollable thoughts. Several people, after time, usually get better and find a way to manage their symptoms. However, for some people the symptoms get worse or last for years and interfere with their daily lives. In those cases, getting effective treatment is important to help improve their overall function and quality of life.

acupuncture chandler yin yang

Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms can appear as early as three months after an incident or as late as years after. Symptoms are generally grouped into four different categories. Intrusive memories (upsetting dreams, severe distress to a reminder of an event ,flashbacks), avoidance (trying to forget about the event, avoiding people and places that remind you about the event), negative thinking (negative feelings about yourself and others around you, feeling hopeless about the future, having difficulty maintaining close relationships, an increased lack of interest in hobbies you once enjoyed), and emotional changes ( feelings of guilt and shame, irritability, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, easily frightened, self-destructive behavior) are the major symptoms. These symptoms can vary over time. You may experience more symptoms when under stress or when you are triggered by a reminder of the incident. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive a past military experience.

The cause of PTSD is unknown. It is thought to be due to a mix of life experiences, an increased risk of depression and anxiety, and inherited personality traits. Treatment options for PTSD can vary from counseling to drug therapy. Acupuncture is also effective in treating PTSD symptoms. Utilizing points around the scalp, a recent study has shown after 4-6 sessions, those with PTSD had less difficulty sleeping, less anxiety, and less irritability.

Scalp Acupuncture Treatment Protocol for Anxiety Disorders

He Y, Chen Z, Pan Z, Ying Z


Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric illnesses, and acupuncture treatment is widely accepted in the clinic without the side effects seen from various medications.


A scalp acupuncture treatment protocol was designed by locating two new stimulation areas. The area one is between Yintang (M-HN-3) and Shangxing (DU-23) and Shenting (DU-24), and the area two is between Taiyang (M-HN-9) and Tianchong (GB-9) and Shuaigu (GB-8). The scalp acupuncture treatment protocol was applied with electric stimulation for 45 minutes with electric stimulation once every week for one patient and 30 minutes with electric stimulation for another patient.


According to TCM theory and ancient classic acupuncture literature, Taiyang (M-HN-9) and Yintang (M-HN-3) points have the function of quieting the spirit and clearing the mind; Shenting (DU-24) and Shangxing (DU-23) act to anchor and settle anxiety and calm the spirit with the indications of anxiety, palpitations, and fright; Shuaigu (GB-8) and Tianchong (GB-9) function to quiet the spirit and stabilize the mind and are indicated for mental disorders.

After four sessions of acupuncture treatments, one patient reported that he did not have panic attacks at night and he had no feelings of anxiety during the day. Follow-up 4 weeks later confirmed that he did not have any episodes of panic attacks and he had no anxiety during the day since his last acupuncture treatment. After six sessions of acupuncture treatments, another patient completely recovered from PTSD, went back to work, and now lives a healthy and happy family life.

In recent years, neuroimaging techniques, such as PET, fMRI, EEG, and MEG, have been used in the research of acupuncture mechanisms of action in the human brain. These neuroimaging data strongly suggest that acupuncture at specific points has significant overlapping modulatory effects on the cortical structures and subcortical/limbic regions which may support the effect of acupuncture on anxiety disorders by modulating those brain regions as well as the effect of acupuncture on PTSD by affecting arousal and motivational states within the nervous system.


Conventional intervention with pharmacotherapies has limitations and various side effects and often are only indicated if other measures have not been found to be effective or a person is not interested in trying them. CAM for anxiety disorders is a safe and effective treatment modality.

Acupuncture has been proven to be a beneficial treatment for PTSD. When we insert needles anywhere in the body, we produce a response. Many patients feel decreased anxiety and stress with acupuncture and feel improvement with their post traumatic stress symptoms. Other treatments provided by our office include Graston, Massage Therapy, Chiropractic and Physical Therapy.