Acupuncture is an effective treatment for healing depression, anxiety and other emotional disorders. Doctors of Oriental Medicine have long known this, but now research is proving it. In a study done at the University of Arizona in Tucson, they found that the women tested had significant reduction in their symptoms of depression. They also found that acupuncture treatments were “at least as” effective as psychotherapy or drug therapy, indicating in some cases, even better.
In another study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine, the women who received specific acupuncture treatments for their depression were “significantly less” depressed than women who received acupuncture treatments for symptoms not related to depression.
Harvard Medical School published a large-scale study in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding depression. They stated that depression was one of the conditions people were most likely to seek alternative medicine for. They found acupuncture was high on the list.
How does it work? “Oriental Medicine”, which is an umbrella term that encompasses acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition and other modalities, has a different perspective on the origination of emotional disorders. Ancient Chinese practitioners look at different “patterns of disharmony” in the body, which is unique to each individual. According to Oriental Medicine philosophy, the body has a flow of energy which transmits along specific channels or “meridians” in the body. This energy is called “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). When this vital energy is altered – slowed, stuck or speeded up, disharmony in the organ system influenced by that channel results. We call this disease. Several people may have the same single symptom, but differ in other symptoms. No two people are exactly alike. An imbalance of qi in a particular channel or organ can cause physical, mental and/or emotional disorders.
When emotions experienced due to a particularly stressful or traumatic event are held over long periods of time, they can become the causes of illness. In Oriental Medical philosophy specific emotions have a detrimental effect on specific organs or organ systems. For example, sadness (or lack of joy) effect the heart; grief effects the lungs; overthinking, anxiety, or ruminating effects the stomach; anger, frustration, irritation, impatience or intolerance effects the liver; fear effects the kidneys. Likewise, a health issue, (usually due to nutritional imbalances or imbalanced flow of qi) effect organ function, the emotion will subsequently go out of balance.
Acupuncture works to restore function to the organs. This in turn normalizes the emotions. Acupuncture is best known for its ability to effectively treat depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and weepiness.
Many emotional disorders are due to the impact of illness. Someone who deals with chronic pain will tend to be more “depressed”. Many medications tend to contribute to depression, anxiety and panic disorders. Using acupuncture to relieve pain and the health condition will result in a reduction of the emotional turmoil as well. Chronic insomnia is one condition that perpetuates depression due to the extreme fatigue coupled with loss of reasoning skills. Eliminating the cause of the insomnia, not only resolves the condition, but the associated emotional issues as well.
When you or someone you know is suffering from depression, anxiety, panic disorders or any emotional disorder, especially if they want something different than their medications, have them consider having acupuncture treatments. They will be pleasantly surprised!
© 2008 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.