People are finding that acupuncture eases depression naturally, even as they turn away from medications and their side effects.
Depression typically has physical symptoms that are unique to each individual. In one person they might manifest as lethargy, while another might experience hyperactivity. One person might binge on food; another might have no appetite. Acupuncture therapy is effective precisely because it addresses and treats a patient’s presenting symptoms, whatever they might be.
The outcome after just a few treatments is often a feeling of calm, along with a sense of clarity. Approximately 6-18 treatments ought to be expected for longer-term results, which typically include reduced fear and stress levels, improved sleep patterns, and an overall improvement in mood.
The following is from an article in the Psychiatric Times of May, 2009, titled, “The Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Depression”
(The italics have been added, as they directly address the chemistry of Depression):
“Acupuncture is being integrated into Western medicine, particularly for treatment of pain, nausea, asthma, and neurological conditions. Although the exact mechanism of action for acupuncture is unknown, it is associated with an increase in the level of neurobiologically active substances, such as endorphins and enkephalins.There are also data indicating that acupuncture induces the release of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine.”
Those last chemicals are a class of compounds called SSRI’s that are typically found in anti-depressants.
The first task of the acupunturist is to ask the right questions at the initial interview. Is there a medical basis for the existence of the depression? The list of medical conditions that exhibit as depression/anxiety includes hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, anemia, hypoglycemia, and withdrawal from sedatives and drugs. Coronary artery disease, with chest pain and cardiac symptoms can mimic depression/anxiety states. Once medical conditions are eliminated, we can treat from a functional root.
Depression that is considered chronic, including bipolar depression, may require long term treatment, sometimes up to 6-12 months, or more, before full equilibrium is restored. The sooner the problem is addressed, the quicker the recovery. A person experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety that is situational, i.e., for less than one year can usually expect a faster response.
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