Acupunture: I have been trying alternative... - AF Association

AF Association

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Lorlaw70 profile image

I have been trying alternative methods to gain some control over my anixety. Has anyone tried acupuncture for anixety surrounding AF. I feel I am constantly waiting on the next episode of AF everyday and live in fear of it. I am new to this condition I have been taking apixaban and Diltiazem. I also feel like a hypochondriac as I am always at the doctors or in a&e at the moment as I find breathing difficult and I feel like I am going to faint. I used to be really active but now I can barely manage to do the simplest of things. I am going for ablation in January and I am so hoping this works but the anixety is just awful. Can anyone share any experiences with me please.

28 Replies

All I can say is - you're not abnormal in terms of new AF sufferers and how they feel.

The "ticking time bomb" feeling is perfectly normal and even some seasoned AF sufferers still get that dread feeling (myself included)

Have you tried researching CBT techniques (cognative behavioural therapy) to control your anxiety? They don't work for everyone.

The biggest adjustment people have to make is accepting that at times the things they used to do aren't as easily done or readily accessible. I used to walk quite regularly in the peak district for 4/5 hours at a time. I used to have energy and motivation to do loads of stuff. I used to be able to do my clinical role at work but since the summer I've been behind a desk. I used to be like a teenager with my partner, but now I'm too tired by 9pm to do anything except fall asleep where I lie!

Many will say it'll only rule your life if you let it, but sometimes you can't help that it takes over. It's a black cloud, it's at the back of your mind and the condition and/or the meds generally dictate your limits and abilities.

Thanks for replying. I am doing mindfulness just now as well. I do know about CBT but the waiting time is really long and I thought acupuncture and mindfulness may help at the moment, but I came across this forum and it has given me so much reassurance that there are other people which can share their knowledge about AF. I am considering seeing if I can set up a local peer group for this condition. I manage a mental health service which delivers peer groups throughout the area which had provided people with a space to come together and simply talk about their own mental health with support from staff. I just wonder if such a service would benefit people new to this condition. Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

It's a brilliant idea. Mental health is still a stigma and I think particularly in the NHS (where I've worked for 15 years) it is quite common although seldom talked about supported or acknowledged.

Getting people to talk about it (particularly blokes) is hard. I try to do "movember" every year to raise money for men's health (and in particular mens mental health this year) charities.

There are so many different aspects to life (work, home, kids, finance, relationships) that cause people's mental health to take a battering and so little regular and easily accessible support in the community that anything anyone can do to help people is always great.

Yes I agree with you however we seen over 2500 people last year and there was a ratio of 60% male and 40% female which is great for men coming out and talking. it is inspiring to watch them come through the doors for the first time and then themselves are offering comfort to other people coming through the doors. We are a commissioned service and we receive funding from the NHS. I do believe in that everything affects our mental health and we need more understanding of this. I could rant all day about mental health! So glad that people like yourself talk about it. Thank you

Hi Lorlaw :-) it is difficult when you are first diagnosed and episodes of P-AF become more frequent and you fear them. I think we learn to get used to things in time.

I used to tell myself 'you survived the last episode and will do so again so be calm ' .

My episodes are usually very symptomatic and last up to 15 hours and I have found doing breathing exercises helps considerably. I breathe slowly and deeply counting the breaths 5 in 7 out.

Now P-AF doesn't bother me, it is annoying if I have arranged to go out and can no longer go but other than that I get on with essential jobs slowly and sit or lay down relaxing/breathing and listening to the radio and even sleeping when I can until it passes.

I have only had acupuncture once for a painful thumb joint, I won't go into details but once was enough never again.

I have never been to A&E during an episodeof P-AF , the prospect of spending many hours on a trolly in A&E surrounded by drunks or queuing outside the dreadful local hospital in an ambulance fills me with dread and would raise my anxiety levels. I much prefer an atmosphere of calm at home .

Acupuncture can help pain .Never heard it to help Afib. I have used CBT and mindfulness to no avail for another condition . I suggest your greatest help in a cognitive sense may well come from this group.There is an enormous wealth of experience here plus understanding and sensitivity .I would also say that with another condition,hyperacusis, I found letting those close to me know I am not always as they will expect me to be because of underlying and perhaps invisible factors has helped a lot.

Thank you for sharing that information. So far I find this forum invaluable and it has given me a little peace of mind. I am just taking one day at a time at the moment. Thank you for responding to my post.

I learned Transcendental Meditation in 1976, used it off and on, now I use it every day for stress/anxiety...and I actually can "zone out"...takes practice, so hoping it helps. Also, on Google, there are websites where Acupuncture can help with AFIB and it names the 3 points on your body that they insert needles. I had cardioversion a few months ago, which failed, postponing having RF Ablation until AFTER SLEEP STUDY done for Apnea.....Haven't seen anyone sharing about sleep studies and how important they are before having Ablations. I'm 77, female and 50 lbs. overweight....only 40% chance Ablation would work for me UNTIL I lose weight, so in t he meantime, it's meditation, doing sleep study, and finding Acupuncturist (Masters in Oriential Medicine) who knows about AFIB. Any advice is helpful from everyone. I've heard of two many cases where more than one Ablation has to be done because of complications....I'm too old to have more than one done. And I would only have an Electrosocologist (EP) do one on me.

I have had a lot of acupuncture. Non worked on my AF only with the right practitioner on my rheumatoid arthritis. However acupuncture did make me feel physically and mentally stronger. I now cope with my AF without hospital intervention with meds and relaxation and would suggest you might try yoga first as acupuncture very expensive.

Lorlaw70 profile image
Lorlaw70 in reply to Petel

Hi Petel - thank you for tak8ng the time to reply to me. I had acupuncture a number of years ago for back problems and it worked so thought I would give it ago again. I think it is helping with my anxiety round AF. I have 9nly had two sessions so far but if it helps with the anxiety I am happy with that.

I tried acupuncture and didn't find it helpful. Pilates may be better as it incorporates many calming techniques.

Lorlaw70 profile image
Lorlaw70 in reply to jennydog

Hi Jennydog - thank you for your reply and suggestions.

The one thing I think does help the physiological symptoms of AF induced anxiety is any form of energy medicine, based on acupuncture, which calms Triple Warmer which directly calms the Autonomic response - Which is what you are feeling. Personally I follow Donna Eden - look her up on YouTube, but a good Acupuncturist will know what you are talking about if you ask. Alternatively - Bowen Technique or a even better - Kineisiology along with daily Mindfulness. There is also CBTM - CBT Mindfulness programmes run from the Oxford Centre - they have been trialling it’s affectiveness in many parts of the country - I took part in a local trial recently which I found interesting but not as affective as the Energy Medicine.

There are more - I find holding TW calming point which is a specific point just below elbow works for me at the moment but these things tend to change and you often need different things on different days.

The great thing about these techniques is that you can self administer and they are a direct biofeedback to tell the body it can calm down, there is no emergency. I hope you find a technique that works for you.

Hope that helps.

Qualipop profile image
Qualipop in reply to CDreamer

Oh Bowen technique is amazing but make sure you get a weell qualified practitioner. They shoudl offer 3 treatments and if it's not working shoudl stop; not keep taking your money

Lorlaw70 profile image
Lorlaw70 in reply to CDreamer

Hi CDreamer - many thanks for sharing this greatly appreciated and replying to my post. I am doing CBT mindfulness it is amazing and I love doing it I am currently on week 4. I just think if I get my anixety under control it will help with AF.

This video is probably a better explanation.

songbird74 profile image
songbird74 in reply to CDreamer

thanks so much for this link - I love it and will pass it on to my kids too.

Lorlaw70 profile image
Lorlaw70 in reply to CDreamer

Wow thank you I have tried this and I think with practice it will help me with stopping feeling terrified of my af attacks!

Yes, brilliant but effects don't last long. You come out floating on air but it only lasts about a week

Since no ones mentioned it yet, yoga as been invaluable for my health. It’s goal is to create a harmony and union between all aspects and levels of your being, and one of the effects for me has been the almost complete elimination of anxiety about my health, my relationships, politics, economy, etc. I believe it has also taken my AF down a notch or two, when it comes on, my life is not affected that much. Pranayama, or the practice of conscious breathing, is one thing in particular that has been very grounding. The one thing that may stop people from starting a yoga practice is that it takes time and effort, it’s not something someone gives you or does to you. But the beauty of it is that you can take control of you life, your health, and your emotions if you are willing to make the investment.

Lorlaw70 profile image
Lorlaw70 in reply to Kaioatey

Hi Kaioatey many thanks for replying to my post. I have been doing yoga every morning to help with my anixety and I have been doing CBT mindfulness. I appreciate with all things you have to commit. I really don't like the idea for having to rely on tablets at the best of times I think the best I can do is try to control it myself. Thank you again

Hi Lorlaw70. i have accipuncture for my back pain it is great. It has not helped my AF at all, some times it brings on an attack. hope this helps. pat

jennydog profile image
jennydog in reply to pat40

I did think that my first 2 acupuncture sessions triggered AF.

Lorlaw70 profile image
Lorlaw70 in reply to jennydog

Hi Jennydog thank you for your response. Did you continue with the acupuncture

jennydog profile image
jennydog in reply to Lorlaw70

No, I didn't continue. I tried Chair Pilates after an operation for herniated neck discs and that was useful.

Lorlaw70 profile image
Lorlaw70 in reply to pat40

Hi Pat - many thanks for replying to my post. I have found the response to my post really helpful and that this forum is so supportive. Thank you

Hi Lorlaw70 ,i have had acipuncter for 12 years. i developed AF last year. so dont know. give it a try. x

Thanks pat40 it has definitely helped with my anixety. Laura

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