Acupuncture for Anxiety and Depression
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Guest post by Charline Liu, a health and wellness blogger and Masters’ student in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She graduates next June and will be practicing as an Acupuncturist with a focus on women’s health and fertility.
In these days of Covid-19, feelings of anxiety and depression can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help as it has for thousands of years.
One of the strengths of Chinese Medicine is the customization of your diagnosis and treatment. Instead of looking at it as a one size fits all approach, practitioners ask specific questions to determine which organs and systems may be in play.
For example, in Chinese medicine, anxiety is thought to arise from the heart. This makes sense because common anxiety symptoms include heart palpitations, tachycardia (fast heart rate), etc. The intention of TCM is to create balance in the body to restore these imbalances and diminish the anxiety symptoms.
Let’s take a closer look at how acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine methods can help treat anxiety and depression.
Diagnosis Based on Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture can not only provide better emotional balance (yin and yang balance as an example) but can also help with symptoms relating to anxiety and depression. The first step to relieving symptoms is to make a diagnosis based on Chinese medicine.
For instance, traditionally, the most common diagnosis for anxiety is a heart qi deficiency. This manifests with anxiety, along with poor memory and insomnia. So, a lot of people who struggle with anxiety also find it difficult to concentrate at work or school and often struggle with sleep.
For those who experience depression, an additional symptom might be low energy, feeling of lethargy or tiredness. We would then look to see at what time of the day the feeling of “hitting the wall” occurs most often. Then, using the TCM bio clock we can then determine what organs might be in play here.
When we say organs, we are not only referring to the western medicine organs but to the functions each organ has in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Acupuncture for Anxiety and Depression
Once a diagnosis based on Chinese medicine is made, the practitioner creates a personalized treatment plan. This plan can correct deficiencies or move obstructions. This helps to restore a sense of balance and calmness in the patient.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a natural way of treating depression and anxiety. It is a simple, effective, and safe method of treatment. Not only can acupuncture drastically reduce the consumption of drugs like Prozac and Ambien, but can also treat the drug’s side effects.
While needles often evoke fears in people, many patients feel a sense of calmness ten minutes after the needles are applied. Many patients also end up sleeping through the treatment. Every person is different, but generally, six to ten treatments are required for stabilizing anxiety and seeing favorable results.
Additional Chinese Medicine Therapies for Anxiety and Depression
Major psychoemotional disorders like clinical depression may need more intensive treatment along with supplementary Chinese medicine therapies.
For instance, Chinese herbs can address imbalances in your body that manifest in a variety of symptoms.
Tai Chi and Qi gong may also be a finical part of a treatment plan. Tai Chi and Qi gong are two Chinese meditation practices that arose from martial arts. They both focus on slowing breathing, movements, and clearing the mind.
Tai Chi combines deep, slow breathing with movement at the same time. Qi gong is usually practiced as either moving qi gong or non-moving qi gong. Moving Qigong moves your qi (energy) and blood around your body and helps with stagnation. While Non-Moving qigong quiets the mind and balances the yin and yang. I am currently also learning Medical Qigong that can be used to calm the mind.
Diet and Nutrition for Anxiety and Depression
There are other lifestyle recommendations according to traditional Chinese medicine that will be advised. It is thought that you should eliminate nicotine, caffeine, and other stimulants (at least temporarily) to help soothe the mind and body.
In addition, in Chinese medicine, your digestive system plays a large role in overall health. You need to tend to the digestive fire, meaning that it’s best to keep your stomach warm
This suggests that we should consume less cold and raw foods and eat more foods that are slightly cooked. Spicy food also flames the digestive fire too much. Therefore, it can cause more heat in the body that can lead to anxiety.
It’s also important that your body has enough Vitamin B, Magnesium, and iron as a deficiency in any of these can cause depression.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a natural way to help treat anxiety and depression that has been used for thousands of years. Consider trying Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine if you struggle with the above to get your specialized treatment plan.
You can find a directory of certified practitioners near you by clicking here: National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine .
Thank you, Charline, for providing this valuable information. I was excited when I met Charline because I have participated in acupuncture for anxiety myself. I participated in acupuncture treatments when I was seeking a natural treatment for anxiety and sleep issues. It helped immensely and I highly recommend it.
Charline Liu is a health and wellness blogger and a Masters’ student in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She graduates next June and will be practicing as an Acupuncturist with a focus on women’s health and fertility. Acupuncture is a family legacy since both her Mother and Aunt are successful Acupuncturists. Find more from Charline at charlineliu.com.