Acupuncture and Depression
Human beings’ emotional feelings are much more complex than any other living creature on the earth. A normal person is able to naturally show a wide range of emotions including happiness, love, anger, worry, and sadness. Adequate expressions of these feelings make our life full of color and worth living. One simply cannot imagine how miserable life would be if we couldn’t easily express our feelings.
Unfortunately, with the fast pace of life it is more common than ever that we are pushed out of “normal mood” and into what’s known as “mood disorder” or simply depression. In the United States, the problem of depression is more severe than in many other parts of the world. It was reported that nearly 30 million Americans, the majority of them women, are taking antidepressant anti-anxiety drugs, resulting in more 130 million antidepressant prescriptions each year!
Symptoms of depression include long-term fatigue, chronically depressed mood, lack of interest in almost everything, severe sleep difficulties, extreme anxieties, irritability, lack of appetite, poor concentration, poor performance, as well as other symptoms.
Acupuncture: a Proven Effective Alternative to Treat Depression While various antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Anafranil, Atypical, Wellbutrin, Effexor suppress the symptoms of depression to some degree, often the associated side effects make people wonder if there are alternatives. The answer is YES, there is at least one alternative: Acupuncture.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored a number of research projects on the effectiveness of acupuncture for depression. The research demonstrated that Acupuncture achieved a success rate comparable to psychotherapies and conventional medication about 70% of patients experienced at least a 50% reduction of symptoms. The obvious advantage though is that Acupuncture has very little or no side effects.
How does Acupuncture Work in General? Acupuncture is an ancient medical technique that inserts fine sterile needles at certain acu-points along the invisible meridians on a human body. The meridians of the body form a network of “canals” that transport the energy (Qi) to vitalize the tissues and organs of our body. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory believes that if the Qi flows throughout the meridians without blockages, our body will function normally and healthily, and can even self-correct internal imbalances.
On the other hand, if the Qi is blocked or stagnated, trouble begins. When this happens, Acupuncture is able to help remove the blocks or stagnations by inserting Acupuncture needles at specifically identified acu-points, thus promoting natural healing.
Acupuncture is safe, easy and cost effective and has been proven to be an effective clinic technique for many health problems. There is also no pain associated with the insertion of the needles all you feel is a tiny point pressing against your skin.
How does Acupuncture Reduce Depression?
TCM believes that depression is largely caused by a stagnation of the Liver Qi, or a blockage of Qi in the liver region. This causes an overall Qi stagnation within the body, resulting in a chain reaction affecting spleen, heart, and/or kidney systems. Step by step, these weakened organ systems cause fatigue and digestion problems, and then body phlegm develops which can result in confusion, muddling of thinking, and many other symptoms.
Of course, some unhealthy but common life habits can contribute to depression too, such as:
No or very little physical exercises Unhealthy diet Excessive alcohol Repressed or overly expressed emotions - especially anger or grief.
Acupuncture helps guide the Liver Qi throughout the body by needling the meridians, the effect of which can be substantially enhanced with Chinese herb supplements. While all the patients I have treated have experienced significant reduction of depression symptoms, some of them have experience surprising improvements without the side effects of conventional antidepressants.
If you are suffering from depression and feel that conventional medication might be reaching its limit, it may be the time to think differently and try something different. Acupuncture is one of those different things that may help you get a new beginning!
Born and raised in China, Dr. Robin Fan earned her TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) degree in China after five years of comprehensive college training, studying traditional Chinese techniques. Afterwards, she taught college TCM classes in China and practiced clinic Acupuncture/TCM both in China and the US. Dr. Fan is nationally board-certified and Illinois licensed. She offers Acupuncture and Chinese herbs for many types of health needs. Please call 630-355-0300 for appointment/consultation.