Acupuncture and depression seem to be an unlikely match. But you will be surprised what acupuncture can do for depression. After many tests conducted by researchers to test the claims by many who have benefited from acupuncture, it has been proven that this natural treatment method can really do wonders for depression and anxiety.
What Is Acupuncture, Anyway?
Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese medicine form of treatment or fitness regimen that uses a needle insertion technique into strategic nerve points in the body. Treating pain, treating diseases and promoting well being – these are the major objectives of acupuncture.
Scientific studies are looking at the efficacy and usability of acupuncture in modern medicine and there have been relevant evidences of its effectiveness in the treatment of muscular pains in the neck and back regions, in nausea and headache instances, even in some psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety.
Anxiety And Depression – Physiological
Many researchers are now leaning towards the theory that depression is physiological rather than psychological. The condition often comes about when the body lacks the necessary biochemicals, nutrients and vitamins to enable the mind and body to work in sync and thrive healthily.
When these physiological needs have been met, many depressed people get well dramatically. For these reasons, researchers are now finding ways on how to retain and how to prevent these biochemicals from breaking down prematurely.
This is where acupuncture comes in. Acupuncture stimulates nerve endings to send the correct signals to their corresponding organs. The stimulation results in active production of needed chemicals, not more, not less – in just the perfect amount.
With regular acupuncture sessions, a depressed person may not even need medications to alleviate the symptoms. A visit to an acupuncturist is all it might take to have a peaceful and calm mind.
Conclusions Drawn By Reliable Institutions
The National Institutes of Health found that, to quote their conclusion, “there is sufficient evidence of the value of acupuncture in expanding its use in conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value”.
Other studies on the clinical or medical use of acupuncture have been done, and one notable among them is one on the link between acupuncture and depression treatment. This study noted that with the failure of medication and sometimes even psychotherapy in during depression, the possibility of alternative treatments for depression, like acupuncture, may be helpful.
For acupuncture to be effective, it has to be focused and targeted, and done on a regular basis. A University of Arizona study on acupuncture and depression subjected a group 38 adults who have been found to be suffering from depression ranging from the mild to the moderate stage of depression. The acupuncture regimen was done regularly, with twice-weekly sessions lasting for 30 days, with reducing frequency on the succeeding months. After the study period, more than half of those treated say that they experienced no less than half of the symptoms have been reduced, if not totally eliminated.
As such, acupuncture may well have been an effective alternative treatment for depression, but the study concluded that it has to be targeted and focused nonetheless. Specific acupuncture treatment, one that is targeted at acupoints that will induce relaxation and reduce anxiety, is seen to reduce the treatment time among patients. In comparison, non-specific acupuncture treatment tends to prolong the treatment although it may aid in the treatment of other conditions. The benefits of acupuncture will still have to be studied taken in the context of specific and focused acupuncture treatment designed for the severe depression types, vis-à-vis conventional treatment and medications.
Lifestyle And Diet Change
It should be noted that as acupuncture gains more acceptance in its use as a complementary method for the treatment of depression, the cure brought about by acupuncture is also often related to a lifestyle change and dietary discipline among the patients using the acupuncture treatment. This is so because acupuncture in the strictest Chinese traditional medicine sense is a discipline in itself, and that discipline radiates to other lifestyle and dietary aspects of the patient being treated for the depression.
A lot of people with anxiety disorders do not seek treatment. Therefore, the true numbers of people with anxiety disorders do not report their issues. As a result, they are not treated. Some people do not realize their problem is anxiety. They are told they are stressed out, or high strung. Many people are led to believe that their anxiety is really just their personality. They don’t realize there is a name for what ails them, let alone a treatment for it. Sometimes people know there is a problem, but they are embarrassed. They do not seek treatment because they fear the shame and public ridicule of the diagnosis. They fear people thinking they have a mental disorder.
In the past, anxiety disorders have been treated using methods and approaches that we now know are simply ludicrous. People who had anxiety were subjected to freezing cold baths in rivers, extreme temperatures, and even leeches attached all over their body. Bloodletting and even worse treatments were used to try to alleviate anxiety. Thankfully we know better now. There are a number of modern treatments for this ailment in today’s society. Medication is often the initial step toward healing for people with anxiety. Medications to reduce and alleviate anxiety are called anti-anxiety drugs. These are not new or experimental. These drugs have been tested and on the market for literally decades. In fact, this niche of the drug industry has exploded. Effexor is a drug that is often used in patients with anxiety and even depression. In the year 2006 alone, this drug earned $3.7 billion dollars in patient prescriptions. Some experts do worry that people will abuse these anti-anxiety medications. There have been some non-anxious people seeking prescriptions for these medications. Some are successful in getting a prescription written.
Another treatment for anxiety and depression is counseling. Patients suffering from phobias and even PTSD have benefited from counseling and therapy. Another form of treatment for anxiety is CBT or cognitive-behavioral therapy. This is a therapy that hones in on patterns of behavior that the patient can confront and address. Many of these behaviors can lead to the patient overcoming their anxiety disorders. If a patient has a phobia or OCD, a therapy that seems to work is exposure to the thing the patient fears. This is not a ‘jump into the water’ approach. The exposure is gradual, over time. This is called systemic desensitization. It is a process that allows patients to use their relaxation skills and confronting their fears. They confront their fears head-on and use their newly acquired skill set to relax and calm themselves. They learn that they can conquer their fears. Meditation and acupuncture are also treatments that people can use. These are called alternative remedies, but many patients have enjoyed success with these approaches. Another approach is herbal medications. Anxiety patients especially have enjoyed relief from herbal medicines. Anxiety can be lessened by diet and exercise as well. When patients employ diet and exercise while also using other therapies, they often enjoy tremendous success.
Below is a list of additional recommendations to help reduce stress:
• Develop a positive attitude about everything you do; associate with positive attitude people
• Make time to relax. If you don’t know how now’s the time to learn!
• Learn proper breathing exercises (yoga, taichi)
• Cultivate a good sense of humour & laugh more…
• Listen to relaxing music
• Pamper yourself or be nice to yourself, e.g. have a massage or facial visit with friends and do things that you enjoy
• Permit yourself to stretch from time to time
• Get out of the hum-drum and do something different (a vacation, bush-walk, picnic)
• Always get proper rest
• Learn about your inner spirit, pray or meditate according to your conscience and beliefs
• If your not enjoying yourself, ask why & do something about it – Life’s too short
• Keep a diary of your feelings to monitor your progress
• Find something to appreciate about life every single day!
How Natural Treatments Work
One of the best ways to get rid of anxiety and depression without using any artificial substances is massage therapy. Few people realize just how beneficial a good massage can be in melting away stress and anxiety. A talented masseuse knows exactly which muscles to address in order to make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated within a few minutes.
Although massage therapy in itself is very effective in treating anxiety and depression, the positive results can be boosted considerably if you combine massage with aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that has been used by people for centuries for the treatment of various physical and psychological illnesses. Some of the best aromatherapy oils that are used for treating anxiety and depression are lavender, chamomile, sandalwood and clary sage. In addition to massage and aromatherapy, acupressure and acupuncture also rank among the most popular non-chemical treatments for anxiety and depression.
Another common natural remedy for battling anxiety and depression is the regular consumption of herbal teas. The organic substances in these teas are very effective in soothing the mind and calming down the nerves. If you drink these herbal teas on a regular basis, you will be less likely to suffer from bouts of anxiety or depression in the future.
There are also natural medications for treating anxiety and depression, that contain the essential natural ingredients for alleviating, anxiety, stress, mood swings and depression. Many cases of anxiety and depression are triggered by the extremely high level of stress that constantly surrounds an individual. Natural medications have the added benefit of not having the side effects, as often associated with prescription drugs.
If you are frequently anxious or depressed, you might want to take a look at your daily environment. It’s quite likely that you are getting a lot of stress from work or from home. In this case, all you have to do is take a break from your regular routine to give your mind a chance to relax.
Many people who suffer from anxiety or depression purposely do not seek treatment for their condition, thinking that it is just a regular part of life and that it will go away eventually. But when left untreated, such psychological issues can blow up into more serious disorders. Treating anxiety and depression as early as possible is crucial to keep relaxed and to enjoy life.