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Can acupuncture help with functional dyspepsia caused by anxiety?

A:  From a Chinese medicine perspective the anxiety and the dyspepsia may form part of a much larger picture, so although a BAcC member would be very interested in your dyspepsia and exactly how it manifested, they would be equally interested in the anxiety and how that had developed and now manifested.
From a Chinese medicine perspective everything is viewed from an understanding of body mind and spirit as a form of energy, called 'qi', which flows in defined patterns in the body and whose rhythms and balance directly affect our health and wellbeing. There is also a very profound sense that everything is inter-connected, so where conventional medicine sees symptoms separately and even sometimes treats them separately (a counsellor for anxiety, a gastro-enterologist for stomach disorders) a Chinese medicine practitioner may see causal patterns between symptoms or more likely both symptoms coming from an entirely separate cause. Treating a symptom in isolation would be rather like turning off an alarm rather than dealing with the fire.
This interconnectedness means that acupuncture research, while it is helpful, rarely reflects the sophistication of the system of medicine, dealing as it does with named conditions in isolation from everything else. That said, there is some evidence that acupuncture can help with anxiety, as our factsheet shows

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and equally some evidence for the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders

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In neither case is the research data solid enough for us to lay claim to efficacy, but we have found both anxiety and digestive problems like reflux, to be among the top twenty conditions with which patients present to our members, and since most referrals come from word of mouth, this suggests that others before them have had treatment and said 'you ought to try this.'
There are many other questions we would need to ask before we could offer anything more definite, however, not least of which is whether you are taking medications for the anxiety and the possibility that these, from our perspective, are directly or indirectly causal in the digestive disorder. Even from a conventional perspective there are often side effects associated with anxiolytics, and it may be worth checking any leaflets to see whether this is the case. If so, you need to discuss with your doctor a possible change of tablet.
The best course of action is to visit a BAcC local to you and seek a brief face to face assessment in which they can tell you whether, based on what they can see, they believe acupuncture treatment may be of benefit to you.  


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BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

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