Depression can be debilitating for those who experience it. Prolonged feelings of sadness, discouragement and hopelessness greatly affect the quality of life.
At one time or another, most of us have experienced some form of depression. It’s a healthy response to events in our lives that seem overwhelming. When we are balanced, physically and emotionally, we can easily bounce-back from a depressed state and move on with our lives. But, when negative feelings and emotions become persistent and consistent, depression may set in.
Today, more than 28 million Americans are taking antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs. (1) In 1998, doctors wrote more than 130 million prescriptions for antidepressants. According to the Physicians’ Desk Reference, the top antidepressant drugs only address signs and symptoms associated with depression, and can cause a variety of side effects, including insomnia, anxiety, listlessness, fatigue, body rash, tremors, facial tics, diarrhea, loss of appetite and sexual dysfunction. Depression alone is stressful enough on the body and while medications may provide temporary relief, they can further compromise our health.
How can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine incorporate thousands of years of experience in treating depression. Not only can they help to alleviate the signs and symptoms accompanying depression, they can address the root causes and underlying imbalances that have contributed to the problem, safely and naturally.
Acupuncturists are aware of the powerful interplay between our body and emotions the two are inseparable. When we experience emotional upset, our internal environment becomes disrupted. Likewise, when we experience physical problems, our emotions can become greatly affected.
Over time, this disruption leads to what an acupuncturist calls “stagnant or depressed Qi.” This diagnosis is unique to acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Eventually, it can cause a disharmony within our body, affecting our physical and emotional well-being. If not properly treated, this imbalance may lead to depression.
What will an acupuncturist do?
An acupuncturist will take a complete health history in order to find out where, why, and how Qi has stagnated or depressed. They will develop a unique treatment plan tailored to specific symptoms and signs of each individual.
The goals of such a plan will be to activate the movement of Qi throughout the entire body, as well as to address the root causes and underlying imbalances. By treating the body as a whole and unique organism, acupuncture care can support recovery from illness and disease toward health and wholeness.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine provide safe, natural, drug free and effective ways to address depression. The focus is to restore a balanced and continuous flow of Qi throughout the body and mind.
- Acupuncture is not a magic bullet. You may need to receive weeks or months of treatment in order to see lasting results. Give yourself the time required so that you can experience the maximum benefits acupuncture and Chinese medicine have to offer.
- Surround yourself with people whom you trust to provide objective and unbiased input and insight. Develop support group of friends, loved ones, family and co-workers who can lend an ear and listen to you.
- Breathe, go slow, and think things through. Don’t make too many life changes all at once. A few at a time will support you and not overwhelm your emotions.
- Try to get at least 20 minutes of simple exercise at least 3 days per week, if not more. Take a daily walk, breathe deeply and let it all go.
- Remember, you are not alone. Others are having similar experiences.
There is Hope: Practitioners of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been helping people cope with stress for thousands of years. The ancient theories of TCM on how stress affects the organs are similar to those of Western medicine; however. TCM theory and treatment go far beyond treating symptoms and signs.
Along with treating physical and emotional symptoms and signs associated with stress, this ancient medicine addresses the root cause(s) of the problem. One way that stress affects the body is by causing a depletion or blockage of Qi, especially that of the Kidneys and adrenals.
Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the vital energy or power that animates and supports the functions of the body. It flows through specific pathways, called meridians, and provides nourishment for the entire body. When Qi becomes “blocked” or the supply is inadequate, the body and organ systems become “stressed out” and our health is then compromised. With acupuncture and TCM, the practitioner’s job is to support and restore the integrity of the various organs affected and depleted by the stress response, along with evaluating the quality and quantity of Qi.
Your acupuncturist may also suggest adjunct therapies to enhance treatment, and speed healing. Proper eating habits, as well as the use of exercise, stretching, movement and meditation practices, support and promote a balanced and healthy body, mind and spirit.
Acupuncture and TCM can provide a safe, effective and drug-free alternative for the treatment of stress.