Acupuncture & Depression

Everybody gets the blues from time to time, and two-thirds of these are women. Clinical depression is a disease which can have devastating effects on one's family, relationships, and career.

What Is Depression?

The term "depression" encompasses several different medical diagnoses:

Although each of these conditions vary from person to person, they all include some of the following symptoms:

Although new anti-depressant drugs, such as Prozac© and Zoloft©, have brought some relief to millions of patients, these drugs do not cure depression; they only manage its symptoms. Few patients relish the idea of staying on such medication their whole lives.

Chinese Medicine & Depression

Chinese medicine has been treating depression successfully for more than 2,000 years with various combinations of acupuncture, herbs, diet.

In Chinese medicine, there are six major patterns of depression. These mostly have to do with the Chinese ideas of the liver, spleen, and kidneys. When a patient comes to an acupuncturist complaining of depression, the practitioner will first decide which combination of these patterns the patient exhibits. Based on that individualized pattern diagnosis, the practitioner will then craft a personalized treatment plan encompassing all aspects of the patients life.

Does it Work?

Recently, the National Institutes of Health funded a study on the effects of acupuncture on depression in women. The results of this study showed that acupuncture was at least as effective as either drugs or psychotherapy and there are no side effects! When acupuncture is combined with Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese dietary therapy, and various other lifestyle modification (tailored to the individual person), the effects are even greater. In addition, Chinese medical treatment for depression does not just alleviate the symptoms of depression but seeks to find and then eradicate the root cause of this disease.

Can One Combine Western & Chinese Medicine?

Absolutely! In many case, such a combination is the best and quickest way of treating depression. Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, can be used to lessen or eliminate the side effects of Western anti-depressants, while a certain amount of psychotherapy can help the Chinese treatment go faster. Anyone currently on anti-depressants who wants to get off these by using Chinese medicine should discuss this with their prescribing physician and work out a withdrawal schedule in concert with their Chinese medical practitioner.