How Acupuncture Affects Depression | Paddington Clinic, Acupuncture Brisbane & Natural TherapiesPaddington Clinic

How Acupuncture Affects Depression

29 Nov, 2012 - Acupuncture, Blog

by Joel Delaney, Acupuncturist.

In the West we like to label disease. Chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression; these names can be a useful way of articulating to others a general idea of what you are going through and can help you feel less isolated. However, for those of you that have suffered some of these conditions, you will know that because it has the same name doesn’t mean you experience the same thing or respond to treatment the same way somebody else does.

Traditional Chinese medicine doesn’t have names for these conditions because they are the symptoms and not the cause of what is going on. I believe this is a very important distinction when looking for holistic sustainable change.

It is also important to understand that acupuncture looks at the body as a complete unit.  Physical imbalances effect the emotions (pain will make you “feel” uncomfortable, frustrated, etc) and emotional imbalances effect the physical (stress can make your shoulders tight, or your IBS flare up, etc).

They key points worth noting are:

–          Depression can be experienced differently by each person

–          Emotions will manifest in the physical body.

If you have experienced acupuncture at the clinic you know we feel you abdomen and pulse. On the abdomen we look for specific weaknesses, temperature changes, pressure pain / tightness and other markers which tell us what is going on inside your body.  With the pulse, we look for specific weakness and imbalances in the six different pulse positions which further indicate where the problem lies.

What does this all mean?

It means that there are clear changes happening in your physical body that give specific indications about why you are feeling depressed. When we know this, there are specific ways to build the pulse, move any blockages, warm any weaknesses, and balance out the flow of blood and energy. When your body is strong and balanced you’ll notice that the external emotional issues or the negative self-talk doesn’t seem to have quite the same effect.  As the blood and energy start to flow through your body more effectively, you are able to start dealing with negative emotional issues which previously felt so overwhelming.

What are the more common patterns with depression?

In Chinese medicine, these are the usual patterns of depression we see and treat often.

  • Weak Kidney energy – This can be thought of as “adrenal burnout”. It results from adrenal fatigue or generally over doing things and not nourishing the body.
  • Liver blood or energy stagnation – This often results from excessive and prolonged stress, or a chronic inactive lifestyle.
  • Digestive weakness – This is often a secondary issue related to liver and kidney weakness, but can explain why you might feel so tired, have a lack appetite or see bowel changes.

These underlying causes explain why you can feel progressively more depressed (the imbalance gets progressively worse) or you are not able to recover after a traumatic event.

Acupuncture is not the only way to correct these imbalances (herbs, diet and lifestyle changes can also be important), but it is a very effective way of uncovering them and addressing them. Changing these physical imbalances gives the emotions the ability to change too.

Many research studies show the effectiveness of using acupuncture as another option when facing depression. Find out more here.

N.B. you can still have acupuncture while on medication.

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