Thursday, October 15, 2009

Depression, Stress, Anxiety and Acupuncture. New York Acupuncture Clinic.

Acupuncture for Depression, Anxiety. 
Tree of Life Acupuncture 
Pain, Infertility and Immune System

32 Union Square East #804, New York, NY 1003
Copyright 2001-2009 Tree of Life Acupuncture, P.C. New York, NY All rights reserved.

Acupuncture can effectively help people suffering with depression. 
Certain acupuncture points on the Liver Channel, Pericardium and Scalp acupuncture points can help reduce depression, anxiety and stress. Acupuncture allows and frees flow of energy and blood to the brain and helps circulate healing energy in the body.

More and more Americans report being depressed, especially in these tough economic times, times that may spell uncertainty for so many of us. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a special issue on depression showing that younger Americans experience the most depression. In 2003 Prozac was approved for the first time for children age 7 through 17.

About 50% of people who seek depression treatments in conventional forms ( psychotherapy and
prescription drugs) stop the treatment prematurely.  Of those who recover, more than one third relapse within eighteen months. Treatments like: Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Homeopathy and Yoga may fill the gap and offer a viable alternative and complimentary options for depression sufferers.

Gloomy Depression Statistics:
I recently saw an increase in depressed  and anxiety patients in my Acupuncture clinic. No wonder when you look at the statistics below.  (Please see Yogic Breathing videos for Depression and Anxiety at the bottom of this page !!!)
Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.  (1)

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older, about one in four adults, suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.1 That is approximately  57.7 million people.  Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44 ( National Institute of Mental Health )

The rate of increase of depression among children is an eye popping  23%.  
15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.

30% of women are depressed. Men's figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.

While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5
54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.

41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.

80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.

15% of depressed people will commit suicide. (1)

Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 -- and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease.
Approximately 40 million Americans suffer form anxiety disorders. Anxiety is often accompanied by depression, but sometimes can be a stand alone symptom. Acupuncture can successfully address anxiety as well I have seen some remarkable results in some of my patients.

Depression is a debilitating brain imbalance, causing apathy and indifference. In its advanced form it changes a person's life to the point of thoughts of suicide,  inability to do daily activities and greatly effects anyone and everyone related to the suffering person. Depression rubs a person of its vitality and many other daily activities that we take for granted.

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture view depression, most of the time as a Liver energy stagnation. As Liver is responsible for spreading the energy throughout the body. Also liver is affected directly by the emotion of anger, alcohol, drugs (prescription or recreational), pollution, emotional stresses.

It can also manifest in deficiency of the Lungs (the emotion for the Lungs is sadness). Fall is associated in Chinese Medicine with the Lungs and Large Intestine. Heart houses the spirit in Acupuncture, in addition to Western Medicine functions. So "low spirit" can effect the Heart energy.
The word "depression" implies that energy is compressed or stuck. And the word "feeling down" carries the same meaning as well, doesn't it ?

Depression, Anxiety and Natural Alternatives.
Medication may offer temporary solution and some people's situations may vary. However one should never assume that being medicated and on drugs is the answer in the long term.
*** Sports and Yoga may offers additional support by generating endorphins.
*** Being social and contacting friends and family could be useful.
*** Picking up a new hobby: Dancing, Hiking in a group setting etc.
*** Some people may not feel like getting out of the house, but efforts should be made especially on good days.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can facilitate the flow of energy in the body and "lift" the energy, so the sufferer feels uplifted. Acupuncture needles produce endorphins and dopamine, so the brain and the rest of the body learn to produce those hormones on its own in due time  and in larger quantities.

Acupuncture is a non verbal form of therapy. What it means is that unlike in traditional psychotherapy, no special rapport or openness need to be established for it to work. (Connection and cooperation, is of course a plus). In China the doctor just takes pulse, looks at the tongue and gives either herbs or puts needles and leaves the patient on his own.

So in  an Acupuncture clinic, the patients does not necessarily have to spill the beans and talk about difficult moments if he/she is not ready, but wants to obtain stress relief. In my practice, I often place needles on the
top of the head (scalp acupuncture). As needles on the head produce massive amounts of endorphins, making the patients a lot more relaxed. If you are my patient, you know what I mean.

The feeling of Sadness is associated in Chinese Medicine with the Lungs.  I often see stressed patients cry when I place needles into either Large Intestine point or Lung points. It's because "sadness" is often  trapped in the body as an unresolved blockage. Acupuncture moves energy by removing those blockages and crying out "the blockage" helps its removal and thus promotes circulation in the system.
Depressed person may not sleep enough or sleep too much.  The Heart in Chinese Medicine "houses the Spirit" so inability to sleep is often resolved in Acupuncture by treating the Heart or Pericardium.

Anxiety on the other hand may be caused by a Liver and Kidney energy imbalance.

Chinese Herbs, Homeopathy and Yoga Breathing and Yoga Postures can be used in addition to or separately from Acupuncture  as well.

A host of Homeopathic medicines can be useful for anxiety and depression.
Yoga and Yogic breathing can be a nice lifestyle addition. See link with videos below.
As always consult your medical doctor regarding your medications and medical condition.

Alternate Nostril Breathing. (This one BETTER for Anxiety, Stress & Insomnia). Yogis believe that practicing this breathing may lead to calmer states of mind, enhanced sleep, help with depression , and help well being. It balances left and right hemisphere of the brain. This Breathing may reduce hunger and help with appetite control. (Breaths must be comfortable, if you get dizzy stop! ). Practice 1-3 minutes, 1 to 2 times a day.

Yogic Abdominal Breathing (PranaYama) Kapalbhati. (This one is better for DEPRESSION, Fatigue, Constipation ) Designed to detox and cleans the body from mucous, toxins and helps bowl movement. May facilitate weight loss. Avoid, if pregnant, consult your MD

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1. Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27.

2. U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates by Demographic Characteristics. Table 2: Annual Estimates of the Population by Selected Age Groups and Sex for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2004 (NC-EST2004-02) Source: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau Release Date: June 9, 2005.

3. The World Health Organization. The World Health Report 2004: Changing History, Annex Table 3: Burden of disease in DALYs by cause, sex, and mortality stratum in WHO regions, estimates for 2002. Geneva: WHO, 2004.