Creating Mental and Emotional Wellness with Acupuncture.
We must all occasionally deal with major upheavals or emotional distress at
some points in our lives. These events
can trigger a host of unexpected feelings and behaviors from depression and
panic attacks to major disruptions in sleep and eating. Not only can acupuncture and Oriental medicine
alleviate symptoms associated with mental health issues, it can treat the root
cause of the problem by helping to rebalance the body's internal environment.
What are Mental Health Disorders?
Mental health disorders are medical conditions that disrupt a person's
thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning
which result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of
Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar
disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder. The good news
about mental disorders is that recovery is often possible. Mental disorders can affect persons of any
age, race, religion, or income. They have been found to be common. Experts
estimate that almost a third of people in most countries report sufficient
criteria at some point in their life.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders
According to Chinese Medical theory, mental illness occurs when there is
imbalance within the body. Imbalance can
come from an excess or deficiency of yin and yang that disrupts the flow of qi
or energy through the body.
Oriental Medicine does not recognize any mental disorder as one particular
syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to
each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, herbal
medicine, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises
to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 100 patients are treated
with Oriental medicine for anxiety, each of these 100 people will receive a
unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs
and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have the ability to detect energetic
changes that occur in the body and relieve symptoms by restoring
equilibrium. The physical and emotional
symptoms that you are experiencing will help create a clear picture on which
your practitioners can create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic
foundation for Oriental medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through
the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee).
This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that
connect all of our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness
arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced.
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points located near or on the
surface of the skin which have the ability to alter various biochemical and
physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect.
Principle of the Five Elements
The Principle of the Five Elements (known as the Wu Xing) describes the flow of
qi and the balance of yin and yang. The Five Elements refer to wood, fire,
earth, metal, and water in Eastern philosophy. They are used used to interpret
the relationship between the physiology and pathology of the human body and the
In Chinese medicine, each element is associated with certain mental/emotional
states. For instance, our memory, thought processes, emotional well-being, and
consciousness are also attributed to the heart and fire element. When the fire
element is in balance, the heart is strong and healthy, the mind is calm and
sleep is sound. When the fire element is imbalanced, we may either lack joy
(depression) or have an excess of joy (mania). Indicators of an imbalance in
the fire element include agitation, nervousness, heartburn, and insomnia.
The Five Elements and Emotions
Wood (Liver) – Anger, jealousy, frustration, resentment, bitterness and
Fire (Heart) – Mania and over-excitation
Earth (Spleen) – Anxiety, pensiveness and worry
Metal (Lung) – Grief and sadness
Water (Kidney) – Depression and lack of will
The Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture points to treat the emotional and physical effects of mental
health disorders are located all over the body.
There seems to be little sensitivity to the insertion of acupuncture
needles. They are so thin that several acupuncture needles can go into the
middle of a hypodermic needle. Occasionally, there is a brief moment of
discomfort as the needle penetrates the skin, but once the needles are in
place, most people relax and even fall asleep for the duration of the
The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments
last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a
week. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe
or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
Study of Acupuncture for Depression
Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that
treating mental health disorders with acupuncture has a positive and holistic
effect on depressed patients, particularly when used in combination with
psychotherapy and herbal treatments.
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. In a double blind randomized study, 34 depressed female patients who met
the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria were assigned to one of three treatment groups
for eight weeks.
The first group received acupuncture treatment specifically tailored to
their depression symptoms. The second group received a general acupuncture
treatment not specific to depression, and the third group was placed on a
waiting list for acupuncture treatment, but received no treatment. The study
found that those in the tailored acupuncture treatment experienced a significant
reduction in symptoms, compared to those in the non-specific treatment.
Moreover, over 50% of the participants no longer met the DSM-IV diagnostic
criteria for depression after the study.
The study findings suggest that using acupuncture alone could be as
effective as other types of treatments for relieving depression symptoms
typically used in Western medicine, such as psychotherapy and drugs.
Find an Acupuncturist
Today, acupuncture is an acknowledged and respected field of medicine which
requires formal training and certification in order to practice. In most
States, provinces and countries, acupuncture is legislated in order to assure
quality of treatment.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an art and a science that takes years
to master. Look for an acupuncturist with formal training and experience in the
treatment of mental health, anxiety and/or depression on www.acufinder.com