Part 3: Homecare Tools For Anxiety - VNS via AcuPatching™
The research is clear that acupuncture, acupressure, and auriculotherapy can reduce anxiety symptoms and one of the mechanisms for this includes Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS).
In part 3 of the series on homecare tools for anxiety, I will be covering how to induce VNS with phototherapy patching as well as acupoint stimulation with the patches to help reduce anxiety.
Which method you should use for homecare comes down to what will give your patient lasting results while also being effective and easy to use.
Imagine you're in your clinic and have a patient with anxiety on the table.
Your patient is relaxed, acupuncture or non-needle techniques have activated their parasympathetic nervous system, normalized sympathetic nervous tone, and stimulated their vagus nerve.
Now they're feeling calmer than they have in days!
Now it's time for a homecare prescription to keep their anxiety under control. What if they won't take herbs or don't like ear seeds?
You could prescribe acupressure on points for anxiety between visits and honestly it would work. But, how many of your patients would follow through and do self-acupressure three to five times daily every single day between visits?
The answer is zero.
They might do it for a day or two but then lose momentum. And it's even worse for parents that are busy working from home while their kids are doing school remotely!
Let's not add one more thing to their to-do list!
That's where AcuPatching™ can help!
With AcuPatching™ you apply a phototherapy patch on the acupoint once daily and leave it there for anywhere from 2 - 24 hours.
It's safe, effective, and less time consuming than acupressure AND has an even stronger effect than acupressure.
Light therapy patches work by reflecting the light your body emits back into the acupoint. The properties of the patch enable it to reflect back very specific wavelengths of low-level light that induces biochemical changes.
Examples of biochemical changes with phototherapy include infrared light reducing inflammation or red light promoting collagen production in the skin.
Watch the video below for a quick demo of how AcuPatching with LifeWave® phototherapy patches works.
If you want the super sciency version, click here to watch the webinar with Dr. Steve Haltiwanger and he'll explain the physics behind how the patches impact our cells. It's fascinating!
Step 1: AcuPatch™ for Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
For acupuncturists, you can cause VNS with needles or low-level laser therapy at Triple Energizer 17, Gallbladder 12, Stomach 36, Spleen 6, Gallbladder 34, Pericardium 6, and/or Governing Vessel 26.
You can actually see the reduction in inflammation in 5 minutes in photos taken with specialized thermography cameras.
Option 1: Aeon Patch behind Right Ear
To restore the vagus nerve balance and improve brain balance, sleep, digestion, and emotional issues, it is recommended to place the Aeon Lifewave® patch behind the right ear.
This is close to the acupoint Gallbladder 12 and corresponds to the location of the vagus nerve beside the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle (see video below).
Option 2: Add SP 6 Complete Patch behind Left Ear
In some patients, it helps to patch bilaterally to offer even more support. Simply apply the SP 6 Complete Lifewave® patch behind the left ear (approximately GB 12).
The SP 6 Complete patch has been found to balance the hypothalamus and helps regulates the HPA axis – vital to supporting healthy hormone and stress response as well as adrenal function.
Patients can add Sp 6 Complete patch to the left Stomach 36 or left Spleen 6 to help maximize the regulating effect on the vagus nerve.
Step 2: AcuPatching™ for Anxiety
For anxiety, I recommend using patches that calm & balance the nervous system applied to acupoints for your patient's diagnosis.
In general, I recommend applying the phototherapy patches on yin tang and the tranquility triangle (aka Buddha's Triangle).
Option 1: Yin Tang (usually at night)
Yin tang, also known as the third eye, is located between the eyebrows.
This point is very calming and promotes a sense of relaxation. You can stimulate this point with acupressure or you can apply the Aeon patch just above yin tang so your patient doesn't pull out their eyebrows when you remove it.
The Aeon patch has a regulating effect on the nervous system and promotes a balance between the sympathetic nervous system (which gets turned on when we go into fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system which is calming, cooling, resting, and digesting.
We generally recommend our patients patch yin tang at night while they sleep since it's visible and some may patients may be embarrassed to wear the patches on their forehead during the day.
Rarely, some children respond better to the SP 6 Complete patch instead of the Aeon patch. If your patient feels more anxious with the Aeon patch, it means they need to switch to the SP 6 Complete instead.
Option 2: Tranquility Triangle
The Tranquility Triangle (aka Buddha’s Triangle) consists of three acupoints: Lung 9, Heart 7, and Pericardium 6.
These points have a strong calming effect on the body by reducing anxiety and promoting a general sense of well-being.
Watch the Video Below for Complete Instructions.
Step-by-step Photo-illustrated Instructions for the Tranquility Triangle
I've found this patching combination has the most powerful effect for reducing anxiety, even when the patient is anxious at the moment!
Here's why I use this combination of acupoints for anxiety.
Lung 9 (LU 9)
This point regulates the lungs and our breathing so it helps calm our breathing and alleviate feelings of sadness or a sense of lack.
When your child is feeling anxious, observe how they're breathing.
Are they breathing deeply and expanding their lower belly? Or are they breathing rapidly and shallowly?
If the latter, be sure to slow their breathing down and have them take big belly breaths while you stimulate this point.
Pericardium 6 (PC 6)
In Chinese medicine, the pericardium is thought of as our heart protector, shielding us from emotional pain.
PC 6 calms the heart and spirit and is good for agitation, chest tightness, nausea, and rapid breathing. It is also used to help a person look within to find inner strength and peace.
Pericardium 6 is a very versatile point with many different indications, but in the tranquility triangle, it’s used to promote calm.
Heart 7 (HT 7)
This acupoint is also known as "spirit gate" and has a calming effect on our hearts and minds. It is particularly helpful for worry and anxiety.
With AcuPatching™ you'll place four different patches on these same acupoints (or see below for instructions using one type of patch only).
Step 1: Place an Aeon patch on Lung 9 on both sides
The Aeon patch was chosen due to its calming effects. It also promotes a balance between our sympathetic (fight or flight) part of our nervous system and the parasympathetic (calming, resting, digesting) nervous system.
Steps 2 & 3: Place a Silent Night Patch on Heart 7 on the right and a Carnosine Patch on Heart 7 on the left
The Silent Night and Carnosine patches were chosen because they are both very tonifying and calming in their actions.
Step 4: Place Ice Wave patches on PC 6 with the tan patch on the left and the white patch on the right
The Ice Wave patches were chosen because of their sedating effect, which will calm the heart rate and rapid breathing in anxiety.
Additional AcuPatching™ Instructions
You can leave the patches on for 2 – 24 hours as feels good to your patient. Make sure your patient is well hydrated and has a good mineral balance. Some patients may need to add extra electrolytes and magnesium to help the patches work better.
The patches can be reused for up to 24 hours. If they lose their sticky, you can reapply with medical tape. Once they've been worn for 24 hours replace them.
Alternative: Use One Type of Patch on the Tranquility Triangle
The patch choice above can be simplified or altered as needed to address the way your patient's anxiety presents. Some patients have found relief by simply using Energy Enhancers patches on all the points.
Or you could also use Ice Wave on all the points depending on the underlying imbalances creating the anxiety.
Using Phototherapy In Your Practice
If you’re curious about how to incorporate phototherapy patching in your practice, click here to learn more. Or leave me a comment below!