Can acupuncture treat anxiety and depression? Acupuncture is a natural remedy for anxiety and depression. My experience has been that an integrative approach that treats neurotransmitter levels (chemically – either with natural substances or prescriptions), behavior (talk therapy), and the physical body (acupuncture and massage therapy) is effective for a variety of mood disorders. A health plan that considers the whole person is more effective than a single approach.
Currently, there is an over-reliance on pharmaceuticals; Healthcare Providers need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of medication for anxiety and depression. Additionally, many patients struggle with the slow gains in therapy, not to mention the cost and challenges with adequate insurance coverage.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), we connect the mind and body. TCM is not only highly effective in treating emotional problems, but addresses physical challenges as well. When I treat a physical complaint, I often find a corresponding emotional/spiritual disharmony. Conversely, while treating emotional problems, there often seems to be a corresponding physical component. Therefore, acupuncture is an effective way to address the whole person.
Acupuncture is a 5000 year old treatment under the larger umbrella of TCM that addresses the body, mind, emotions and spirit. It is a holistic medicine with roots in China and includes therapies such as herbs, massage, acupuncture, and nutrition. The goal is to create harmony by balancing various meridians in the body. Meridians are defined as channels of energy in the body. It is theorized today that acupuncture works because these meridians and points intersect at key points in the body where the nervous and lymphatic systems meet.
In TCM (as well as other mind-body therapies) it is believed that “intellect” and “feeling” reside in all the cells of the body. If a person is depressed, TCM views this as the result of deficient or stagnant energy, or imbalance of yin and yang (the two polar opposite forces of which all things are comprised). This imbalance can take many forms, and is ultimately evaluated by the acupuncturist through an ongoing evaluation process which encompasses observation of posture, gait, demeanor, skin tone, brightness of eyes, voice, smell, tongue and pulse diagnosis, palpation and asking about symptoms and history.
The experience of having acupuncture is comfortable, relaxing and energizing. The needles are hair thin, sterile and generally painless and never used twice. There may be a brief soreness or pulling sensation which we interpret as activating the energy within a meridian. Our soft bed has a warmer underneath soft, fluffy sheets to maintain the right body temperature and increase your comfort. Some patients change into a pair of boxer shorts (both men and women) and a soft tee – this allows Dr. Conte to access various points while protecting your physical privacy.
My approach in treating depression and anxiety naturally is to perform a thorough initial evaluation, offer a complete treatment plan, and check-in with patients during each visit to ensure the best treatment. A session can take between 45 minutes and an hour and a quarter.
Like many of my patients, you may respond well to natural remedies for stress, depression, and anxiety. To review studies on acupuncture for anxiety click here. To learn more about studies on acupuncture for depression, click here.