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Anxiety and Depression are two very common emotional disturbances that I see in my office. And often my patients are seeking to find a better way to manage without pills. With technology there has become endless ways to connect and yet, we are feeling more and more disconnected, making anxiety and depression much more prevalent.
So where does Acupuncture come in?
Acupuncture is a great complimentary or in some case even stand alone treatment for anxiety and depression. Traditional Chinese medicine looks at the mind and body as one, meaning that the emotions can have effects on our physical bodies, and it aims to treat both.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses worldwide, and is especially common in our Western world. Anxiety includes the emotions of fear and worry, which are two of the seven emotions recognized in TCM. The symptoms of anxiety can range from manageable symptoms to severe, debilitating symptoms. Physically people can experience irregular heartbeats, trouble breathing, and digestive issues. Cognitively, negative or obsessive thoughts can be present. And behaviorally aggression or restlessness and insomnia can be present.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine anxiety is related to the organs Heart, Liver, and Kidney, and can be a mix of either Excess or Deficiency patterns. When anxiety is caused by a deficient pattern the symptoms are more mild in comparison to when is it caused by an excess.
Depression is also very common and it is estimated that one in five people will experience depression at least once in their life. Clinical depression is different than the sadness or grief that you may feel after experiencing loss of any kind. Depression is a long lasting and intense state that effects you emotionally, physically, and cognitively. It can effect day to day living.
Symptoms include lack of interest, depressed mood, loss of appetite, irritability, agitation, exhaustion, negative thoughts, changes in sleep pattern, and hopelessness.
In TCM depression is always due to a stagnation, where the Qi cannot circulate freely through the body. Stagnation is an excess pattern, but with later stage depression deficient patterns can also be present. The Liver is the organ most often associated with depression.
The Liver houses the Ethereal Soul in TCM, which is responsible for our life’s dreams, plans, ideas, sense of purpose, and relationships with others. When there is lack of movement of the Ethereal Soul, such as in Liver Qi Stagnation the person becomes depressed lacking all the things the movement of the Ethereal Soul provides.
With the rise in both of these metal illnesses it is important to know that alternative therapies such as acupuncture are available to better help get to the root of the cause of anxiety and depression, and to help relieve the symptoms associated with both.
Acupuncture treatments for anxiety and depression vary from between 6-10 treatments depending on how severe and chronic the illness is. After treatments are then more of as needed basis.
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