The Many Faces of Anxiety

By Dr. David Martin

To experience anxiety is to be human. When it becomes chronic, however, it gets in the way of the rest of our humanness. For some people, it is more than an inconvenience and it affects their lives and health negatively on many levels. We have seen people who are terrified to leave their home, others have panic attacks or depression. These are natural instincts gone awry. And I see a LOT of it. In fact, stress/anxiety is the 2nd most common reason people come to see me.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, anxiety has many different faces. The approach to treatment, of course, includes acupuncture as a primary tool. We do not lump all anxiety reactions together, we look for the underlying emotion that is creating the anxiety; such as fear, anger, resentment, over thinking, an unsettled mind, sadness, etc. As you read this article, open your mind to new ways to look at anxiety by considering the ways Chinese Medicine frames the issues, diagnoses and treatment. There are elements and “organ systems” involved.


The Element is Water. A strong fear-based anxiety affects the waters of your body, and the organ systems treated are kidney and bladder meridian channels.

Acupuncture eases the fear by instilling a sense of calm and order.


The Element is Earth. The mind can’t stop thinking, “What if? What if?” The organ systems are spleen & stomach channels.Acupuncture slows the worried brain by bringing a sense of peace.



The element is Fire. The organ systems are heart and small intestine. The emotions are strong. Perhaps there is abandonment, a lack of confidence to be able to act right. It’s essential to stop the cycle.
Acupuncture turns off the fire alarms and brings a strong calm to the mind and body.



The element is Wood. The organ systems affected are liver and gall bladder. The emotions of frustration, pent-up resentment, and anger cause the brain to send toxic chemicals thru the body, and the detoxing organs are stressed. They may become unable to keep up with the load, and this weakens the body, making it more susceptible to disease. Coming to terms with these powerful emotions is a journey, and one that must be taken to maintain or regain health.

Acupuncture brings serenity, and the patient feels this effect after the first session.

The deeper the frustration/resentment/anger, the longer it may take (more acupuncture sessions) to release. What many people in the general public do not realize is that acupuncture can and does begin that journey, on an energetic body-mind-spirit level. The brain-body generates its own set of opiates and hormones to regain balance. It’s customized. It’s non-addictive, self-medication.


The element is Metal. The organ systems are lung and large intestine.
Acupuncture treats the sadness and grief directly by removing the heavy fog in the brain. While it is natural to feel sadness and grief—and we all know there is no avoidance, just a way through—it may be so strong that a person cannot function. Or it may become chronic and begin to rule one’s life. Acupuncture lifts the heavy veil of fog from sadness and grief, allowing the person to function more normally as the process continues to resolution.


Oftentimes there will be more than one type of anxiety causing havoc…and a group of causes. A person’s anxiety situation can be complex. Perhaps it’s work stress. For example, I have seen patients who have had a bad experience with their supervisor at work. (Resentment). They couldn’t stop thinking “What if I had done this? What if I had said THAT? (Stress due to Overthinking). This same cocktail of Resentment/Anger/Overthinking occurs in family relationships and other situations which could also incorporate the anxiety of Fear. This is truly a toxic cocktail.


In addition to acupuncture, anxiety can be aided by further discovery and exploration. There may be nutritional supplements, herbs or changes in diet that can reduce anxiety. If the body is critically low in a vital mineral, for example, providing that one mineral could bring about resolution of the anxiety for good! It may be that another health problem is causing anxieties. The body is crying out for attention to make a change. Or, it could be an emotional issue which begs for resolution.

There are several practitioners at the clinic who are trained to help with food, emotional and other life issues. Check our website page  to learn more. Discover other ancient and/or pragmatic approaches to move life-healing processes along more quickly. People are often delighted to learn that, instead of being a chore or a tell-all, energy and emotional healing can take many forms, sometimes acupuncture, sometimes opening up to one’s own inner guidance thru metaphors, sometimes actively tapping to “turn on” a different belief.


As an Acupuncturist, my tool box contains another important element beyond the acupuncture needles. It is LISTENING, and it is NOT talk therapy. I need to know how the person FEELS in order to know how to properly diagnose, treat and relieve their anxiety..

The story is actually not important. For some people, this is a relief to know. No need to re-live or bare the soul. Of course, I care. And, my main job is listening to ascertain the best ways to balance a person’s internal energy which then alters blood chemistry. When I do that well, the anxiety will disappear. It may take a while to settle, but it does. People find relief to go on, no longer trapped and traumatized. They can move forward with the rest of their lives, and their Freedom is Priceless to behold.

Dr. David & Deb Martin
…and all the Practitioners at Lotus Blossom Clinic

Serving the Greater Fort Myers area with Natural and Holistic Medicine, including Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage, Science-backed Food as Medicine, Energy & Transformational Sessions…and over 30 monthly Community Classes & Events!