It was always said that if you wanted to get a straight answer from a doctor, you should ask them, 'would you be happy for your daughter to have this treatment?' So, I suppose if you said to us, 'would you recommend acupuncture to overcome your mother's fear of flying?', the answer would probably be 'no'. This is not to say that it might not work; over many years of practice we have heard of a number of almost incredible stories about changes which people have managed to make thanks to treatment, and quite often by the practitioner simply sticking to very basic traditional acupuncture. Extreme reactions of any kind are, from a traditional acupuncture perspective, indications that a part of the system is out of balance and generating inappropriate emotional or mental responses. It is sensible to be mildly apprehensive about flying, just as it is to be mildly scared of heights. If the faculty of sensible fear is out of balance, then extreme reactions abound.
However, with a problem such as this there are other possibilities which seem to us to go to the heart of the problem much more directly. Hynotherapy or CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) are both well tried approaches for phobias, with the added advantage in the case of hypnotherapy of being able to do trial runs under the power of suggestion. There are a great many forms of hynotherapy, all of which have their strengths, but those based around NLP and the work of hynotherapist Milton Erickson seem to have the most well attested handle on treating phobias.
There is no doubt that you would probably derive some benefit from acupuncture treatment in terms of a reduction in anxiety, as our factsheets show, and always the possibility that a skilled practitioner might look at your overall balance and get that feeling that there is something obvious to be done which may help. It is more probable, though, that they would do as this expert would, refer you to a trusted colleague who does hypnotherapy or CBT to ensure that your needs were skillfully and professionally met.