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Can acupuncture help emetophobia?

Q:  My husband is suffering terribly from a phobia called emetophobia (fear of vomiting) which has lead to panic attacks and depression. It is very difficult to watch someone suffering as he is and I was wondering if acupuncture would in any way help?



A:  Emetophobia is a very distressing condition and is often linked with a degree of agoraphobia as the sufferer avoids social situations where the possibility of vomiting in public makes them unwilling to take the risk.




Chinese medicine often uses the word 'appropriate' in discussing someone's reactions, especially emotional and mental, to their surroundings, and the theory of Chinese medicine associates many emotional states with physical symptoms. The practitioner will often fidn that an inappropriate fear or anger is often accompanied by an 'inappropriate' physical symptom like indigestion or headaches, and these conjointly point to specific areas of the system which need treating. Chinese medicine used to be governed by the simple principle that a system in balance does not generate symptoms, and the practitioner would simply seek to re-establish balance and expect symtpoms to dissipate. Modern Chinese acupuncture has a more 'physical symptom based' ethos, but is none the less effective for it.



Having said that, it is probable that someone with such a phobia would need some form of talking therapy like CBT(Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or even hypnotherapy, particularly that using NLP or based on Milton Erickson's work, alongside acupuncture treatment. Patterns like this can become very deeply ingrained, and although acupuncture can encourage the system to repair, a direct addressing of the problem at a conscious level may be useful as an adjunct or even as a first choice for conditions like this. 

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