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  • TCM treatment of social phobia and panic attacks

  • Gradual and consistent improvement of symptoms until recovery within three months. 

2016.10.15   Today a young man came to the clinic with his girlfriend. He said he had never tried TCM before, and wanted to know if TCM could help him. To be honest, every time I hear this I feel very concerned, because if I fail to help him, he would probably think that TCM itself is not helpful and won’t want to try it again.


Actually, many people in Western countries have similar perceptions; they tried TCM but since it didn’t really work they gave up trying TCM.

However, if someone’s TCM treatment seems at first unhelpful, in truth the problem is that particular TCM therapist was unable to help you, not that TCM itself is unable to help with a particular problem. If TCM therapy does not lead to positive results, just try to find another qualified TCM therapist, as most Chinese will do.

Well, let’s come back to this young guy. What kind of problem did he have? Phobia and panic attacks!!

He told me, “When I am at home, I am fine. But when I go out, even if I am only in a parking lot, I start to feel panic taking over. I can’t go anyplace where there might be many people.”

I asked him, “When you have a panic attack, are there also any other symptoms?”

“Yes,” he said, “usually I feel some dizziness, with some pressure on my forehead. Plus, my heart rate skyrockets and I start to sweat.”

After I examined his body and vital signs, I was able to determine what his underlying problem was: He has “phlegm” in his body.

What is the idea of phlegm in TCM? We can regard phlegm as undigested food residue. If you eat more than your body can digest, after a long time, phlegm can start to accumulate in your body. This phlegm can flow throughout the body and cause many different problems.

Today I gave him acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy.

2016.10.29  He told me that before he had a panic attack every day, but this week he had no panic attacks for two days.

2016. 11.5   Today the patient reported that he still had panic attacks every day. His sensation of dizziness was usually triggered when he changed his position or turned his head. So, I adjusted his prescription for Chinese herbal medicine and continued to give him acupuncture.

2016.11.12  He felt his panic attacks were decreasing, so I continued the treatment.

2016.11.19   The patient said both his dizzy spells and panic attacks were getting better, so I again continued the treatment.

2016.11.26  Today the patient was happy to report that his panic attacks were no longer happening every day, and when they do occur they were much less severe. His dizziness was also better than last week. So we continue the treatment.

2016.12.3   Same steady improvement and ongoing therapy.

2016.12.10.   His dizziness and panic attacks were both greatly reduced. Continue with the treatment.

2016. 12. 17.  Same steady improvement and ongoing therapy.

2017.1.7.  His panic attacks are now much, much better. Before TCM treatment the happened every day and lasted at least 30 minutes. Now they only occasionally occur and usually last no more than 5 minutes. Dizzy spells now only happens once or twice per week and disappear quickly.

2017.1.21.  The patient reported that he had not experienced a panic attack for weeks, the first time in recent memory that he had gone so long without one. Plus, he had only one dizzy spell, and it was very mild.

2017.2.3.  The patient was elated that he had not had a panic attack for over one month, and it appeared his dizziness was gone as well. He was happy to report that he can enjoy a normal social life again. I told him that we could stop the treatments now, as the therapy had been successful.

So, it took me around 3 months to solve his problem. This is normal for TMC as it gradually and naturally corrects the underlying conditions and imbalances, rather than just masking symptoms like Western medicine. I think by eliminating the problems that once dominated this young man’s life, I gave him a good impression of TCM.