I recently asked a highly respected and experienced acupuncturist from China which diseases she treated the most using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when she was practicing in China. “Depression and pain,” she replied.
Acupuncture is becoming well known in the United States as an effective treatment of body pain, but exploring TCM deeper reveals wider applications, including for the treatment of depression.
“After feeling discouraged from the western medicine I was using to treat a chronic health problem, I sought out Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac. I thought that an alternative approach to my care may be more beneficial. Fortunately, I was right. I have been seeing Juliette for a little over a year now and she has been more effective than any other health practitioner I have come across. She is extremely attentive, careful, thorough and works very hard to ensure that her patients get the best treatments possible. Aside from the acupuncture and herbs, Juliette’s encouragement and insights have been key components to my personal healing process. Seeking out Juliette has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself”. -Anonymous.
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The many types of depression are defined as mood disorders by the American Psychiatric Association. The Mayo Clinic lists the following mental and physical signs and symptoms indicative of depression1:
- Feelings of anxiety
- Loss of interest or pleasure in life
- Neglect of personal responsibility or personal care
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Extreme mood changes
- Feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless
- Physical symptoms (e.g., headaches, chronic pain)
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Thoughts of death or suicide
In the United States, the rate of people seeking medical treatment for depression markedly increased between the late 1980s and early 1990s and continued to increase through the 1990s.2 There are many side effects of antidepressant medication and many mimic the signs and symptoms of depression itself. Some of the various side effects of antidepressants are as follows3:
- Dry mouth
- Urinary retention
- Blurred vision
- Sleep disruption
- Weight gain
- Gastrointestinal disturbance/diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Inability to achieve an erection
- Loss of libido
Depression is a very complicated disease that affects mental health and the various physical systems of the body resulting in decreased quality of life. Health is the balance among all of the emotional and physical occurrences in the body. If these fall out of balance, disease will occur. For example, one may become depressed because of a battle with insomnia or one may become an insomniac resulting from a struggle with depression.
TCM approaches health and disease with the understanding that the mind and body function as one operable unit not to be treated as two separate, unrelated parts. The National Institute of Health states that in TCM, qi (pronounced “chee”) is believed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance, and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. This description highlights TCM’s view of the mind-body connection of health.4
According to TCM theory, depression is a disease that occurs from stagnant or depressed qi in the body creating emotional and physical imbalance. Acupuncture and herbs can regulate stagnant qi resolving the depressive state in the body and help achieve health. Clinical trials analyzing acupuncture as treatment for depression, patients who experienced acupuncture improved slightly more than patients treated with an antidepressant drug alone.5
Acupuncture and herbs are effective, safe treatments for depression and can be used alone or in conjunction with antidepressants. Call today, and Juliette Aiyana will work with you to help you attain overall health and a better quality of life!
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
32 Union Square East, Suite 615N
New York, NY 10003
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2 Mojtabai, R. M.D., Ph.D., and Mark Olfson, M. M.D., M.P.H. (2006). Treatment Seeking for Depression in Canada and the United States. Psychiatric Services. 57:631-639.
5 Röschke J, Wolf C, Miller MJ, Wagner P, Mann K, Grözinger M, and Bech S. (2000). The benefit from whole body acupuncture in major depression. Journal of affective disorders. 57(1-3):73-81