Depression is a serious medical illness that can lower a person’s quality of life while contributing to the onset of symptoms such as headache, insomnia, fatigue, and malnutrition. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. say they are depressed. Depression a growing problem that’s often masked with prescription drugs, forcing some to look for alternative forms of treatment.
Most cases of depression are treated with prescription drugs that trigger a range of problems of their own. Fluoxetine, ertraline, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, citalopram, and escitalopram are just a handful of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants, all of which have a long list of adverse side effects. However, researchers are now saying that acupuncture may effectively treat depression in some individuals.
Research is ongoing: A recent study conducted by researchers in the U.K. examined 755 patients who were diagnosed as being clinically depressed by their primary healthcare physician. The patients were then split into three different groups based on the treatment they were about to receive. One group received one-on-one counseling, another group received “usual care” (antidepressants), and a third group received acupuncture.
To determine the success of the treatment, researchers gave patients a health questionnaire at 3 months and 12 months, asking the patients a series of questions regarding their emotions. To the researchers’ surprise, one third of patients whom were treated with acupuncture experienced a 50% or more improvement in their depression score, whereas only 29% of patients from the other groups experienced an improvement.
Depression according to TCM: Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been used for thousands of years to treat depression. The ancients realized that body, mind and spirit exist as a continuum; everything is connected. There is a powerful interplay between the body and emotions – the two are inseparable. Emotional upset can disrupt our physiological state. And when we experience physical problems, such as chronic pain, our emotions can also be greatly affected. Over time, this interplay may cause our Qi to slow down or become “deficient.”
Qi can be loosely translated as the flow of energy within a person. Qi animates the body and protects it from illness. According to Chinese medicine, Qi flows in specific pathways called meridians. Over time, disruption in the flow of Qi leads to disharmony within our body. If not properly treated, illness such as depression may occur.
What Acupuncture does: Acupuncture activates the movement of Qi throughout the entire body.
There can be many triggers for depression. Lack of sunshine, nutritional imbalances, the pain of thoughts, toxins, infections, or allergens are a few examples. TCM looks at the pattern of depression: what are the root cause(s) and how does it manifest in the symptoms? By treating the body as a whole and unique organism, acupuncture and/or TCM will support you in your recovery from illness, moving you toward health and happiness. Body, mind and spirit are re-united. The result is that depression is dealt with on every level of being.
Whether you are functioning with mild depression, or overwhelmed with a major depressive disorder, acupuncture can help. It is an effective, safe, drug-free method to reduce stress, improve sleep, and relieve depression. If you or your loved ones suffer from depression, talk to Catheryne and see if acupuncture is right for your situation.