For thousands of years, Chinese traditional medicine has provided relief for common ailments, and patients who have not had success with regular treatment may want to consider acupuncture for depression and anxiety as an alternative. Let’s take a look at how these conditions may respond to acupuncture treatment.
What Is Acupuncture?
If you are not already familiar with it, acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine, whereby very fine small needles are inserted into specific parts of the body. The location of where the needles are inserted depends on the ailment you are seeking treatment for and corresponds with the flow of energy or Qi through the body. The needles are believed to release blockages along these energy channels. The acupuncture points are known as meridians.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mental health illness that causes a person to lose interest and excitement in things they previously enjoyed, and to be in a constant or cyclical state of sadness. Other signs of depression may include
- Lack of energy and constant tiredness
- Unintentional weight gain or loss
- Problems with sleep: sleeping too little or too much
- Thoughts of suicide
- Problems concentrating, trouble with memory
- Feeling worthless or guilty
How Does Acupuncture Help Depression?
There haven’t been many studies measuring the effectiveness of acupuncture for depression but some promising results have been noted.
One eight week study of 151 men and women reported an improvement in depressive symptoms, while another found the benefits to be similar to the improvements experienced by patients taking fluoxetine.
What About Acupuncture And Anxiety?
Some theories have been offered as to how acupuncture could be beneficial for treating anxiety, and one theory is that the insertion of the needles into the meridians results in the secretion of feel-good hormones while lowering the levels of stress hormones that contribute to anxiety.
Acupuncture For Depression And Anxiety: The Bottom Line
While the studies are few and far between, and those that have been published have been criticised, it has been noticed that acupuncture does not make anxiety or depression worse. Patients who want a drug-free treatment approach or those who have tried other treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy may want to try acupuncture as an alternative where other treatments have failed.
Acupuncture does release endorphins so it’s highly likely that you will feel good after your treatment, regardless of what you are being treated for.
Managing The Risks Associated With Acupuncture
There are few risks and side effects are rare, but they are worth knowing about. The most important thing to note is that you work with a registered practitioner.
While the acupuncture needles do not penetrate deep under the skin, you might feel some light bruising and soreness at the meridians afterwards.
There is a slight chance of infection as the skin is being penetrated, so it’s important that each needle is sterile and single-use which lowers this risk considerably.
There is no reason to suffer in silence. To find out more about acupuncture for depression and anxiety, please contact us for an appointment: (07) 5613 1531.