Acupuncture for Panic Attacks

A person experiencing a panic attack will find themselves suddenly, and for no obvious reason, overwhelmed by feelings of fear or anxiety. Along with this may come some of the following symptoms:

  • A racing heartbeat

  • Difficulty breathing and possibly chest pain

  • Light-headedness or dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Feeling hot or sweaty, or chilly

  • Tingling or numbness in the hands


Such attacks can last for several minutes and are extremely distressing, not least because the symptoms may mimic those of a heart attack. The person may have a sense of overwhelming dread as if something terrible is about to occur, or they may fear that they are dying.

Panic Attacks and TCM


Anxiety of all kinds is such a common problem in our society because of the way we are taught to approach life; whilst we may be relatively well off materially, there is little nourishment for our spirit in the materialism of modern consumer society. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is rooted in a philosophy that provides what many people find to be a life giving alternative to this dry materialism, and acupuncture treatment, from ancient times, has been known to be able to treat disorders of the spirit such as anxiety and panic attacks.

Acupuncture treatment for panic disorders often involves using points with names such as ‘Calm the Spirit’, which are known to have a deeply calming effect. Most patients, whether coming for treatment for anxiety or for any other condition, will acknowledge that acupuncture treatment itself is a very calming and nourishing experience.


More than this, however, acupuncture can address the disharmonies within our body and mind which are behind the panic attacks, helping us to restore health on all levels of our being. Many cases of panic attacks correspond to the Chinese medical concept of Li Ji, a term which translates as ‘internal urgency’ and which has been treated in China for over two thousand years. Li Ji refers to Qi which is rushing or rebelling upwards uncontrollably. Among other symptoms, this accounts for the increased heart beat and the feeling of light-headedness. Treatment in the first instance is to ‘root’ the Qi and stop it rushing upwards in this way, something which acupuncture usually does effectively.

On top of that, treatment also will address why the Qi is rebelling in this way. Usually this is because of an imbalance in the Qi of some of the internal organ systems. This is why when you first come for treatment we spend quite a lot of time talking with you about all aspects of your health; we need to build up a picture of you as a total person, body and mind, and this helps us to understand why the Qi is rebelling, why you are suffering from panic attacks. That is to say, our approach to panic attacks, as with most things, is a holistic one. We aim to restore harmony to you as a person, so that panic no longer needs arise. To this end we use acupuncture, and perhaps herbal therapy and Chi Kung exercises may also help.


The Sean Barkes Clinic does not claim to cure any conventional medical disease states. Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks to re-establish and maintain the harmonious function of the human body-mind using tried and tested principles that have been discovered and matured over millennia. A Western medical diagnosis provides very little by way of insight in informing a Chinese Medical diagnosis. Patients usually recognise their own condition in terms of the medical disease category that they have been given by their GP or other conventional medical practitioner. The research presented here is merely an indication of the potential to draw parallels between Traditional Chinese Medicine and Modern Western Medicine.

©2020 by The Sean Barkes Clinic