Seeking treatment for anxiety or depression but looking for a natural approach? Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be helpful in calming panic attacks, aiding sleep, lifting energy and mood, and assisting you to make positive changes in your lifestyle to allow you to manage and overcome this very serious condition. Contact us to book your treatment today, or read on to find out more…
Anxiety and depression can be debilitating. It can stand between you and your ability to enjoy a ‘normal’ life, in which you can function without having to battle emotions that are often exhausting and overwhelming. Thankfully, when you’re looking for treatment (and it’s always better to address things sooner than later), there are many options out there to help you on your way. If you are interested in a natural approach, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have a lot to offer, be it in conjunction with medication, other therapies, or as a stand-alone treatment. Scientific research has shown that Acupuncture eases anxiety as it acts on the area of the brain that reduces sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promotes relaxation and deactivation of the ‘analytical’ brain, responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010).
Chinese medical theory ties five key emotions to the five ‘Yin’ organs in the body. Very simplistically, the Lungs are affected by grief, the Heart by joy (or excessive joy), the Spleen (digestive system) by worry, the Liver by anger, and the Kidneys by fear. An excess of an emotion can affect its corresponding organ, and vice versa, an out of balance organ system can result in a particular emotional response. The organs in Chinese Medicine have functions attributed to them that go well beyond that of Western Medicine, and so an imbalance in an organ system does not mean that that organ is in trouble, more that the ‘jobs’ that the organ is responsible for will be impaired, resulting in physical and emotional disharmony. An example of this is the digestive upsets that often accompany excessive stress and worry. Our Spleen (and Stomach) are associated with transforming the food and water that we consume into Qi and Blood, as well as digesting information and emotions. When worry is excessive this places a strain on the Stomach and Spleen, leading to symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, bloating and loose stools. Alternatively, if we are not nourishing our body with appropriate food and drink we can cause the Spleen and Stomach to become weak, and sometimes struggle with processing information in an appropriate manner.
According to Chinese Medicine theory, anxiety and depression is caused by a deficiency in the body’s resources, namely Qi (energy) and Blood. When we are born we inherit a certain amount of constitutional Qi, called Jing, and we maintain this with the air, food and drink we ingest. Either through long-term lifestyle habits (think continuous exposure to emotional and/or physical stressors) or a major physical or emotional event, we can drain vital energies faster than they can be produced, depleting Jing and weakening the body and mind. How this then manifests in the body, i.e. which organ systems become out of balance and hence the sorts of physical and emotional symptoms we experience, is dependent upon a host of factors, including constitutional predisposition, and the type of emotional or physical problems we are experiencing. Whatever way anxiety and/or depression manifests for you, very often once you’re there the body’s resources are depleted to a point where changing diet and exercise habits can seem too hard, and although hugely beneficial, significant results can be slow to come which can be disheartening. The body commonly needs a little helping hand to fast track healing, and Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be hugely beneficial.
In my practice I have found Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to be very effective in the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks, rooting excessive energies unable to be bridled by deficient resources. Depression and deeper emotional disharmonies can be slower to respond due to long-term deficiency; however by combining Acupuncture with Chinese Herbal Medicine, along with the essential overhaul of diet and exercise, these can be lifted and managed. Taking on an exercise therapy such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi or Yoga to encourage flexibility of body and mind, better breath control and a host of other pluses is especially beneficial. Addressing emotional issues that may have triggered your anxiety or depression is also central to long term management. Therefore, dealing with emotional traumas and any negative behavioural habits in a way that works for you, such as with a counselor perhaps alongside some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, will go hand-in-hand with these changes to help move you toward finding the new lease on life you’re looking for.
Making the necessary changes to get you moving can feel overwhelming and unattainable for a start, but with some treatment on board your mindset should begin to change, creating a knock on effect as you are more open and able to making lifestyle adjustments that will leave you feeling more positive, more energised, and less of a prisoner of your own mind. However you decide to tackle this often crippling problem, looking at the lifestyle and behavioural habits that bought you to this place is key. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be one way to help give you that strength, physically and emotionally, to really start moving in the right direction.