I read recently that anxiety becomes a psychological problem only when we are prevented by that anxiety from living our lives as fully as possible. Anxiety can become a crippling constraint to a life of ease and satisfaction. It is a very common 21st century affliction within our society. This is one condition that I find responds extremely well to a three-pronged approach.
The counselling session is an opportunity for a client to feel safe, accepted, unjudged, free, attended to, heard and with complete confidentiality. There are few comparable spaces anywhere in our lives as in the ‘therapeutic relationship’. It is a precious place and opportunity to explore things such as deeply held anxieties, as one can safely ‘bare the soul’. States such as anxiety can be unpacked from different perspectives; resilience can be noted and supported. Other ways of being can be tried.
Acupuncture has been shown in various studies to have a positive influence on levels of anxiety. Ear (point) acupuncture has a special place in this regard and there are acupuncture points on the body, which are known to exert anti-anxiety effects. It is common for clients to have acupuncture sessions in the lead up to events such as: dental surgery, surgical operations, exams, aeroplane flights and any number of other potentially stressful situations.
Massage has a long history across many cultures and traditions as a soothing, relaxing, therapeutic modality. I think it holds great virtue for a person who is living inside a body that seems to have lost the ability to let go, to unwind and to be at ease. The effects of massage on the physical body and therefore the mind, are like a re-education project, a reminder of another way of feeling. This is a wonderful adjunct to a therapy aimed at altering anxiety.
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