Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

How long does it take for acupuncture to work for anxiety?

I am a 34-year-old male and I want acupuncture treatment for anxiety. How long does it take for acupuncture to work for anxiety?

20 Answers

The fastest is one treatment. Of course, you have to have following treatment to accumulate the results. Patient normally feels more relaxed and sleeps better after the first treatment.
My patients usually walk out the door feeling better after the first treatment. It may not last very long, which is why they need to come back for a series of treatments, but most people feel very peaceful and relaxed after each treatment.
It does work for depression and anxiety. The brain will release neurotransmitters such as serotonin to regulate your mood. It needs six or more visits.
5 to 10 treatments
That's a good question. Anxiety can be treated almost immediately with acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments generally have a relaxing effect on the body and mind during the treatment. Acupuncture changes patterns of energy movement in the body so in order to maintain the change from the treatment, additional treatments should follow. I usually recommend 4-6 treatments to make a change, but with each treatment the patient will feel a sensation of relaxation and decreased anxiety.
One treatment you should feel notably better! Best to go for 14 treatments close together.
Good afternoon,

Acupuncture does work for anxiety, how long it takes depends on the severity of anxiety. Usually, you should start seeing the results within 4-5 treatments.

Thank you,

Short-term effect is very fast, long-term effect needs to take traditional Chinese medicine.


The length of time it takes acupuncture to work for a patient for any ailment will be dependent on a number of variables. Since every person is different, has different constitutions and imbalances it's very hard to give a rough estimate on the time it will take to work. In general, if something has only been going on for a short amount of time (under 3 months) it may respond more quickly than something more chronic, if a patient is in relatively good health - no major illnesses, traumas, good diet, sleep and digestion working pretty well, this person may respond more quickly.

As for anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health and emotional concerns, acupuncture will usually provide some relief immediately, but how long this relief may last will be dependent on factors above. Some patients may find the 24 hours after a session are great, then symptoms return, and after a few weekly sessions they may start to see a longer period where they hold the results of the treatment. Some may find the anxiety still remains but sleep improves a lot - which will eventually help the patient experience less anxiety. It's extremely variable from person to person.

Overall, acupuncture will help your body experience alpha - theta brainwaves states, when we are thinking/concentrating/stressed we are in a beta state which doesn't allow the body to rejuvenate and replenish itself. Anxiety and stress can extend the time we are in this state and this can create a snowball type effect when it comes to symptoms. Experiencing the alpha-theta state during a treatment helps put your body back on track to be more capable of regulating itself and also giving you a break from anxiety, overthinking and stressors.

A good expectation for treatment is to commit to 6+ weekly treatments, evaluate at the beginning the severity and frequency of symptoms then re-evaluate at the end of the 6 weeks. Changes can take some time, or may be subtle at first, but measured over time we find patients have a positive experience and relief with sessions. And of course, there is no substitution for using acupuncture in conjunction with other treatment methods like therapy, exercise and nutrition.
It actually should begin to work right away for anxiety, but I suggest you continue to go on a regular basis because the effect will last longer.
It can be immediate.
Acupuncture works very well in Anxiety problems. Between 3 to 6 treatments you can start seeing improvements.
You may feel relief instantly because acupuncture brings you from the sympathetic nervous state to the parasympathetic nervous state. How long that relief lasts is harder to answer. Typically, the longer a condition has been in existence the long it will take to resolve. This is a normal process in all forms of medicine that requires peeling away layers that have developed over time. Be patient with the medicine and with yourself.
The effects of acupuncture for anxiety are sometimes felt immediately, sometimes they take weeks to fully kick in. Acupuncture eases anxiety by regulating the nervous systems back into balance.
No one can know how long it will take for an individual to get results for issues like anxiety or other systemic problems. Some people get relief very quickly and others take a longer time. It all depends on your individual case.

I'm sorry that I cannot give you a clear answer but no one would be able to. I can tell you that acupuncture has done wonders for many of my patients that have a variety of anxiety issues. Have patience and feel free to ask your practitioner how things are progressing and be sure to tell them how you feel you are or are not progressing.

Keep in mind that not only the acupuncture, but lifestyle habits, your community and weather can be factors in your wellbeing too - so talk to your practitioner about other ways you can work through this.

Good luck.
No one can predict the outcome of a treatment. We do have expectations on how it should work. Anxiety has an excellent outcome when treated by acupuncture. Our rate of success in treating anxiety is very high.

Be well, be confident, we can help.
Few treatments at least to start feeling results
Depends on how long you were first diagnosed with anxiety. Typically between 3-6 months.
Thank you for your inquiry. One section takes about 40 minutes. If you mean how many sections you need, it's usually around 8 to 10 sections.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine do not work like conventional medicine. For an issue like anxiety, there are a variety of potential causes in the Chinese model and there are likely other factors which will make your particular presentation of this issue unique to you. Part of the Chinese diagnostic process is to figure all this out and come up with a treatment plan specific to your presentation.

In addition, there may be lifestyle factors like diet which may have an impact on how you experience your anxiety. Making lifestyle changes would therefore have an impact on how quickly you might notice changes.

A good rule of thumb is: for chronic conditions (something you've been experiencing for more than about 3 months or so), you're probably looking at 6-8 treatments. You might notice changes sooner, but that's a good ballpark.

Please make sure you're seeing someone licensed as an acupuncturist in your state. If you're not in CA, you can start with the "Find a Practitioner" lookup at