Acupuncture and Depression

Learning to Leave Behind Mental Oppression

By Paul J.O’Brien
B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. Med. M.T.C.M.C.I.,

Acupuncture and Depression is a particularly sensitive subject. If you’ve never experienced Depression it can be all too easy to dismiss this crippling condition as just someone’s inability to get over a bad day. Sure we all have days that we just don’t feel great on can feel depressed, but that isn’t depression in the clinical sense of the word.

Depression is a recognized medial condition, an emotional disorder that is characterized by daily or near daily physical tiredness, a lack of energy and motivation, unexplainable sadness and melancholy, rapid weight gain or weight loss without major changes to diet, Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly everyday, marked anxiety, a feeling of worthless, suicidal thought and tendencies, and emotional or physical withdrawal.

These are the primary medical criteria necessary to establish the presence of clinical depression. Once this diagnosis has been made western medicine offers a standard treatment plan involving medication and psychological counseling. Acupuncture and Depression works slightly differently.

Acupuncture and Depression work primarily on treating the under lying cause of depression working less on the symptoms themselves (though these too are treated) but on rebalancing both the body and mind to eliminate the root problem. This can be any number of things and range from person to person.

Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at understanding Acupuncture and Depression through various patterns of disharmony and imbalance. For instance the root cause of one person’s depression may be as a result of Liver Qi Stagnation – In TCM each “organ”, such as the “Liver” (it has little to do with your actual liver, more a relation of properties and functions) has a mental emotional element also.

The Liver is often associated with feelings of anger and frustration. Prolonged feelings of this nature can lead to the Liver becoming stagnant or still and thus not producing movement of Qi (Qi is the energy moved through Acupuncture) and Blood. This can result in mental depression, alternation of moods, irritability, "snapping" easily and an intense feeling of frustration. The treatment in this case is to ease that mental frustration, move liver and return the flow of blood and Qi to normal.

Of course Acupuncture and Depression may focus on another imbalance depending on the person and situation. For example it may be a weakness of Lung-Yin. Once again, this does not mean there is a problem with your physical lungs, but that the energy for functions such as breathing, are related to this organ. The Lungs in Traditional Chinese Medicine house what is termed “The Corporeal Soul”. Essentially our emotional essence is housed in our Lungs, which makes sense if you think how our breathing works whenever we are upset or excited.

The Lungs are particularly susceptible to grief, again this makes sense when we think of our heaving breaths and tears when we are sad. If the Mental Emotional Energy “Yin” is weakened in the Lungs – termed Lung Yin Deficiency, a a patient may express depression, tiredness, itching, slight breathlessness, an uncomfortable sensation of the chest, night-sweating, and a dry throat. This of course requires a different treatment plan to than Depression caused Liver Qi Stagnation.

Overall there are many different patterns of disharmony and illness used in cases of Depression and each person presents a different mix of these patterns. One of the major benefits of Acupuncture and Depression is that focus on the individual. The remedy and treatment plan is specific to the patient and how they interact in their environment.

Should you wish to learn more about Acupuncture and Depression feel free to contact me or make an appointment where we can discus any specific concerns or questions you may have.

In the second half of this article I will discuss Acupuncture and Depression with regards to the medical evidence and studies conducted which show the effectiveness and benefits of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. You can read Part 2 - Acupuncture for the Treatment of Depression Here.

Should you have any questions, comments or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me.

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You have been Reading about Acupuncture and Depression. Read Part 2 - Acupuncture for the Treatment of Depression Here

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