Acupuncture for depression, stress and anxiety
Why our bodies experience stress, anxiety and depression
Stress is caused by our bodies reacting to situations which are perceived as threatening or out of our control. Stress, in moderation is a perfectly normal and healthy part of life. Everybody experiences stress at some stage in their life. However, if the stress is particularly traumatic or if it persists for an abnormally long time, it can be highly detrimental to mental, emotional, and even physical health.
Most have heard about the body's “fight or flight” response. It is named for the idea that, in mankind's early days, stressful situations often involved physical altercations with another person or a dangerous animal in the wilderness. Several temporary changes (such as increased adrenaline and the redirection of blood to the arms and legs) are made to the body during a “fight or flight” response, to allow for one to either ”fight” the threat or take “flight” away from it.
In modern times, we have a completely new set of potential causes of stress, anxiety and depression. The source of the stress could be the boss at work, the coworkers, the family, or any other problem one might encounter throughout the day. The “fight or flight” response often does not prepare us to deal with these stressors. Due to this, stress is often long-lasting. When these changes are endured for an extended period they cause the body's Qi (vital energy) to become stagnant. Chronic stress is a cause of many serious problems, from high blood pressure and digestive problems, to depression, headaches, fatigue, and a damaged immune system, which by itself can cause many problems.
However, sometimes we can't pin down the reason why we just don't feel right. Doctors may suggest that there's a chemical imbalance in our brains, whereas Chinese Medicine suggests that the imbalance is energetic and can therefore be balanced using acupuncture and herbs.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Emotions
In traditional Chinese medicine, the body is thought to contain an extensive network of pathways, or “roads,” through which energy flows. When energy flows freely throughout the body, one will be healthy and energized. However, roads can be blocked or jammed by unusually intense emotions, or negative emotional conditions such as stress, anger, or depression. A condition such as stress can cause tension in certain areas of the body, like the back and neck, blocking roads, and causing pain and stiffness in those areas.
Path blockage in one area of the body can also cause problems in other areas of the body. Someone who is very stressed, in addition to physical pain, may experience problems with sleeping, digestion, and blood pressure. Stress and other negative emotional conditions can even worsen existing medical conditions.
However, acupuncture can help to remove any blockages in the energy roads. In Western medicine, they would say that the acupuncture points trigger a response in the brain to release endorphins, which are pain-killing hormones, throughout the body. The heart rate and blood pressure are lowered, and the muscles are relaxed. Acupuncture also helps to increase and improve blood circulation. From the traditional Chinese perspective, each acupuncture point unblocks an intersection in the energy pathway network, allowing for a better flow of energy. The symptoms as well as the cause of stress, anxiety, depression and other negative emotions can be alleviated.