Stress and Depression

Stress can be a healthy response to events in our lives that may feel beyond our control. At the first sign of a threat, our sympathetic nervous system kicks into the fight or flight response. Our heart rate increases, our pupils dilate, and our digestion temporarily shuts down, directing blood to our extremities, so that if need be, we can either fight what is threatening us, or turn and run if the threat is too great.

Depression is also 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.

When we are healthy and the stress is short-lived, we are usually able to recover without too much impact on our overall health. However, when the stress is extreme, or if it lasts a long time, it can have damaging effects on our emotional and physical health. Resulting symptoms can be mental and emotional strain; anxiety, insomnia, exhaustion; panic attacks, dyspnea (increased breathing rate), increased heart rate, palpitations, muscle tension, pain and tremors. Some other common symptoms of stress are headache, backache, dermatological disorders, digestive and sleep disorders, depression, poor concentration, and memory loss. There is even evidence that chronic stress can lead to such long-term health problems such as hair loss, strokes, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

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. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques such as acupuncture and remedial massage can reduce physical, mental and emotional effects of stress and depression. It works by inducing a relaxation response, which decreases the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and increases energy and tissue regeneration. It can help relieve common physical manifestations of stress in your body such as tension and pain in the neck, back and shoulders, headaches and migraines, poor digestion and much more. Studies have shown acupuncture can stimulate the release of substances within the body to relax the body, and also regulate serotonin levels in the brain which directly affects emotional wellbeing.

TCM cannot change the circumstances of a person’s life, but it can relieve feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. As the heavy feelings of stress lifted, a person feels more confidence in his ability to cope with the negative aspects of life and make necessary changes. This in turn can also help in eliminating dependence on chemical substances.

At Baolin Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Centre, we use acupuncture, remedial massage and Chinese herbal medicines for stress relief. We also educate and encourage patients to practice regular exercise and adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits. All of these combined help prevent and reduce the need more invasive medical interventions. For more information regarding acupuncture for stress and depression relief please contact us at our Perth or Subiaco clinic (Perth Clinic: 9228 8828; Subiaco Clinic: 9380 4171). Alternatively, you can send us your queries through our online contact page.