Acupuncture for depression and anxiety is becoming an increasingly popular treatment option.
Depression is a common mental health problem that affects people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. About two thirds of adults will at some stage of their lives experience depression severe enough to interfere with their normal activities. In Australia one million people currently suffer from depression and 2.3 million suffer from anxiety. Depression will be second only to heart disease as the leading medical cause of death and disability within the next 20 years.
Although everyone experiences low mood at times, these feelings usually subside after a couple of days. Clinical depression, however, refers to a long-lasting and intense emotional, physical and cognitive state that greatly affects day-to-day life. Depressed individuals often suffer from low mood, poor sleep, fatigue, crying spells, anxiety, feelings of guilt and hopelessness, poor memory and inability to concentrate, body aches, stomach disturbances, and a loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed. In some cases individuals can develop suicidal thoughts, and even attempt to take their lives.
Modern medicine typically treats depression with antidepressant medication, psychological counselling or a combination of both. A growing number of people are seeking alternatives due to adverse effects and/or non-respondence to prescribed antidepressant medications, or simply in a search for more holistic approach or something to enhance their current medication treatment. Medical research indicates the therapeutic value of acupuncture in the management of stress, anxiety, depression as well as their associated health problems, they suggest that acupuncture could be a promising option to replace medication or alleviate its side effects.
Since the early nineties, studies around the globe have suggested that treating depression with acupuncture has a positive and holistic effect on depressed patients, particularly when used in combination with psychotherapy and herbal therapy. Psychologist John Allen, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and Acupuncturist Rosa Schnyer, conducted the very first pilot controlled study on treating depression symptoms with acupuncture in the western scientific world. The study findings suggest that using acupuncture for depression alone could be as effective as other types of treatments for relieving depression symptoms typically used in Western medicine, such as psychotherapy and drugs.
Acupuncture works by helping to boost the mood lifting chemicals in the body, and the sympathetic nerve activity which reduces stress. It stimulates the nervous system and causes the release of neurochemical messengers. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.
Acupuncture appears to be at least as effective as existing conventional medications, without their level of side effects, therefore it should be considered as one of the therapeutic options, alongside the existing repertoire. It can be safely combined with conventional antidepressant treatment, helping to reduce their side effects and enhance their beneficial effects. Acupuncture treatment can also help resolve physical ailments such as chronic pain, which may be a contributing cause of depression.
At Baolin Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Centre, we use acupuncture, remedial massage and Chinese herbal medicines for treating depression. In addition, we also make recommendations to dietary and other lifestyle changes that may be helpful in overcoming depression. For more information regarding acupuncture for depression and anxiety, please contact us at our Perth or Subiaco clinics (Perth Clinic: 9228 8828; Subiaco Clinic: 9380 4171). Alternatively, you can send your enquiries online through our contact page. We look forward to helping you reach your optimal health state.