79 patients with anxiety were treated with acupuncture. A sub group of 19 were given a combined treatment of acupuncture and hypnosis. The patients were both referred and self referred. Following assessment they were divided into two broad categories. 65 with anxiety and associated pain states. 14 with anxiety alone or associated with non pain stress related illness. Follow up was carried out 6 months on average from the last treatment. No attempt was made at double blind method methodology. Furthermore the treatment was carried out in private practice. For these reasons this paper should be regarded as a case series, rather than a clinical trial.
The patients were treated twice a week until marked response was noted and then once a week until stable, then reviewed at one month. On discharge patients were advised to return on a p.r.n. basis. In the anxiety plus pain group 54 were treated with acupuncture alone. Eleven were treated with acupuncture and hypnotic techniques. In the anxiety and no pain group 6 were treated with acupuncture and 8 with acupuncture and hypnosis.
The acupuncture treatment was carried out according to the dictates of Traditional Chinese medicine. If the associated painful or stress related syndrome was the patient's main complaint, treatment was initially at a symptomatic level. E.g. if the patient suffered with headache or neck pain, then the painful state was treated first and then the underlying or associated anxiety state was treated. Following traditional Chinese Medicine's rule of treating the most acute contra-indication to health first. The hypnotic techniques used were aimed at producing relaxation and if needed strategies for increasing ego strength and methods for dealing with ongoing stresses were utilised.
That acupuncture is effective for the treatment of stress and it disorders has been recognised since ancient times. Traditional Chinese medicine contains numerous references to the effects of the emotions on bodily processes. Psychosomatic illness, a relatively new concept in the West, was recognised and written about at least 200 years B.C. Ancient Chinese literature describes and analyses in great detail, the mind-body interface. The ancients stated that there were 5 emotions, which in excess would effect the functioning of associated organs leading to imbalance, resulting in physical or mental illness. These relationships were summarised around 200B.C.