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This ancient technique tamps down stress hormones while boosting feel-good endorphins, says Lixing Lao, PhD, a professor of family and community medicine in the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Several acupuncture points on the body work on general anxiety," including the ear, shoulder, and stomach, says Dr. Lao, who advises scheduling an appointment a few days before your exam. Your insurance may cover acupuncture; if not, a 1-hour session will cost $60 to $120, on average.

Calm Your Muscles

Begin progressive relaxation exercises in the waiting room, advises Jeanne van Gemert. Tense your shoulders for 5 seconds, then release; do your back next; repeat several times. "When you're stressed, you unconsciously tighten your muscles," she explains. "Clenching fully and then relaxing fully can be a big relief."


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