As mental health issues have come to the forefront in recent years, many have sought more natural treatment options that don’t involve pharmaceuticals and their potentially harmful effects. Acupuncture has become a popular option for treating mental health issues, including depression. But does it work? Before we answer that question, let’s give a proper definition to both acupuncture and depression.
Acupuncture can be simply defined as thin needles (the width of a human hair) inserted into specific parts of the body called “points” or “meridians.” Where the needles get inserted depends on the issue being treated. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (also known as TCM) it is taught that the body has a flow of energy or qi that regulates a person’s health. If this flow of energy is disrupted, illness can occur. Applying the acupuncture needles to these specific points can put the body back in balance and get the energy flowing as it should.
WebMD defines depression as “an illness that involves constant feelings of sadness and a loss of interest or pleasure.” They also define additional symptoms as difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, lack of energy, suicidal thoughts, drastic changes to weight and appetite, irritability, difficulty concentrating, remembering things or even making decisions, and feelings of guilt or worthlessness. Depression is most often treated with medication or therapy or a combination of both. The disheartening thing is that, according to WebMD, “between 19 and 34% of people with depression don’t improve with these more traditional treatments. This has led to more people looking for alternative treatments including acupuncture.
What the Research Says
A 2010 study stated that, “Depression and anxiety together constitute a significant contribution to the global burden of disease. Acupuncture is widely used for the treatment of anxiety and depression and use is increasing. The theoretical basis for acupuncture diagnosis and treatment derives from traditional Chinese medicine theory. An alternative approach is used in medical acupuncture which relies more heavily on contemporary neurophysiology and conventional diagnosis.”
If you suffer from feelings of anxiety and depression, talk to your acupuncturist to develop the appropriate treatment plan. Your acupuncturist will take a detailed health history and examination to help you determine the best course of action.
Studies have shown that the right “dose” of acupuncture was the key in helping patients see results and a reduction of the symptoms of stress and depression. A “dose” is defined as both the number of treatment sessions overall, as well as the number of acupuncture points addressed in each session. Studies have also shown that acupuncture can help to get heart rate variability back to an optimal range which can help improve issues with heart disease, hypertension, anxiety and depression, insomnia, migraines, and muscle pain.
While the number of studies is still few, there are many encouraging studies demonstrating great results for those suffering from feelings of anxiety and depression. In addition to regular acupuncture treatments, your practitioner can also recommend herbal supplements and nutritional and dietary changes that can also get your energy back in balance. And once you find your energy back in balance, there is a cascade of health benefits that can come from regular acupuncture treatments. Do not suffer another day. Call today and schedule your appointment so you can get a treatment plan in place and get back into balance.