Acupuncture & Generalized Anxiety Syndrome (GAS)
abstracted & translated by
Honora Lee Wolfe, L.Ac., FNAAOM (USA)
Keywords: Chinese medicine, acupuncture, psychiatry, generalized anxiety syndrome (GAS)
On page 44 of issue #1, 2005 of Tian Jin Zhong Yi Yao (Tianjin Chinese Medicine & Medicinals), Wang Zhi-ling et al. of the An Ding Hospital in Tianjin published an article titled, “Clinical Observations on the Acupuncture Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Syndrome.” A summary of this article’s main points is presented below.
Sixty-five patients in all were enrolled in this two-wing comparative study. All were seen as either out-patients in the acupuncture department or as in-patients at the authors’ hospital. These 65 patients were randomly divided into two groups, a treatment group which received acupuncture and a comparison group which received Western medicine. There were 35 patients in the treatment group and 30 patients in the comparison group. In terms of sex, age, and disease condition, there was no marked statistical difference between these two groups (P , 0.05). Diagnostic criteria for GAS were based on the CCMD-3, the Chinese equivalent to the DSM-IV. In addition, all patients had an SAS score of more than 50. This is a commonly used psychiatric rating scale for anxiety. Patients with organic brain disease or serious systemic disease were excluded from this study.
All members of the treatment group received acupuncture at the following main points:
Yin Tang (M-HN-3)
Bai Hui (GV 20)
Nei Guan (Per 6)
Shen Men (Ht 7)
Dan Zhong (CV 17)
San Yin Jiao (Sp 6)
Additions and subtractions to this list were based following each patient’s symptoms. After obtaining the qi, even supplementing-even draining hand technique was used. Needles were retained for 30 minutes, after which they were removed. Then the following points were needled:
Xin Shu (Bl 15)
Pi Shu (Bl 20)
Shen Shu (Bl 23)
After obtaining the qi at these points, the same hand technique was used. However, the needles were not retained. One treatment was given per day, with 30 treatments equaling one course of treatment.
All members of the comparison group received 0.5-2mg of alprazolam (Xanax®) BID or TID plus 20mg of a multivitamin TID or 10-20mg of propanolol (Inderal®) TID. These patients were also treated for a continuous 30 days.
Cure was defined as complete disappearance of all symptoms with a calm, stable mood. Marked effect was defined as basic resolution of symptoms but still some slight fluctuations in mood. Improvement was defined as improvement in symptoms with fluctuations in mood. No effect was defined as no improvement in symptoms and an unstable mood. The following table shows the outcomes of the two groups based on these criteria.
|Group||Number||Cured||Marked effect||Improve-ment||No effect||Total effect.|
|Treatment||35||12 (34.3%)||16 (45.7%)||5 (14.3%)||2 (6%)||94.3%|
|Comparison||30||8 (26.7%)||12 (40%)||5 (16.7%)||5 (16.7%)||83.3%|
This table shows that the acupuncture was more effective than the Western medical treatment (P , 0.05). The next table shows mean changes in SAS scores between the two groups.
|Group||Number||Before treatment||After treatment||t value||P value|
|Treatment||35||79.88 ” 6.32||33.26 ” 4.83||5.42||+ 0.01|
|Comparison||30||78.96 ” 5.98||39.31 ” 3.86||3.85||+ 0.01|
This table shows that, although mean SAS scores decreased in both groups, there was no marked statistical difference the decrease in mean scores between these two groups (P , 0.05).
Although Western medications for GAS typically get a speedy effect, their dosage often has to be increased to maintain this effect, and, as the Chinese authors of this study state, these Western medicines have a number of unwanted side effects when taken long-term. Whereas, the acupuncture protocol described above has no side effects. The purpose of the acupoints in the above protocol was to clear heat and open the orifices, regulate and repair of the qi mechanism, and calm the heart and quiet the spirit.
Copyright © Blue Poppy Press, 2005. All rights reserved.