The conversation around mental health has become much more prominent in recent years thanks in part to the pandemic. Depression, loneliness, anxiety have all increased for many people especially in the last couple of years. Sometimes a prescription medication is needed to deal with a particular mental health issue but often, people are looking for a drug free alternative to address their issue. Acupuncture is a great option for those struggling with mental or emotional issues.
Just for depression alone, some users of antidepressant prescription medications can experience some heavy side effects. And there are those who despite the prescription are not helped by the medication themselves. Acupuncture offers a holistic option to deal with depression and the underlying causes.
Depression and anxiety can manifest in both physical and emotional symptoms. This is often an indication of an imbalance of Qi (pronounced “Chi”) in the body. Qi is defined as the body’s various gasotransmitter (present gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide, etc.) pathways flowing through specific channels in the body. When Qi is balanced and flowing through the channel network, our bodies operate optimally. When Qi isn’t balanced, depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, and even digestive issues can be present.
Before beginning your acupuncture treatment, your acupuncturist will take a detailed history and examination. Acupuncture points for treating emotional and physical effects of mental health disorders are located all over the body. Your acupuncturist will choose the acupuncture points based on your history and their report of findings.
Researchers have been studying the effectiveness of acupuncture and how it can help people who suffer from depression and the findings are positive. A study conducted at the University of Arizona examined responses of 34 depressed women who used acupuncture, generalized acupuncture not utilizing specific points, or no treatment at all. The study found that of the women who received acupuncture specifically for depression, 43% experienced a reduction in their symptoms compared with 22% for those receiving general acupuncture and 14% who received no treatment at all. After eight weeks, more than half of the women who received specific acupuncture were considered no longer depressed.
These are encouraging studies with great results so if you suffer from feelings of anxiety or depression, talk to your acupuncturist to develop the appropriate treatment plan based on your specific needs. Studies have shown that the right “dose” of acupuncture was the key in helping patients see results and a reduction of the symptoms of stress and depression. “Dose” is defined as both the number of treatment sessions overall, as well as the number of acupuncture points addressed in each session.
Your acupuncturist can also recommend herbal supplements and nutrition and dietary changes to help bring your Qi (the proper flow of gasotransmitters) back into balance. Talk to your acupuncturist today. As we have all seen over the last couple of years, we need to be as vigilant in maintaining our mental health as we are with our physical health. Reach out to us today and experience the healing benefits of acupuncture!