Anxiety and depression have, unfortunately, become constant companions for many in our society to varying degrees of severity.
Can acupuncture help with anxiety and depression?
Firstly, yes, absolutely! Secondly, there are many factors to consider.
Anxiety & depression don’t exist in a vacuum.
Anxiety and depression don’t occur only on the mental-emotional level—it’s not just in your head! The physiological aspect of mental illness plays a big part. And that leads to the ever-elusive question of what came first: the chicken or the egg?
Psychology & Physiology
Mental-emotional stress or feelings of gloom can affect your physical wellbeing, and vice versa. Inflammation in your body can cause you to feel anxious or depressed, as can hormonal fluctuations, toxins in your environment, electromagnetic frequencies in your home or office, the energy/mood of other people you interact with (especially if you’re an empath), and so much more!
What can we do about it?
So, where do we start? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we always come back to the basics of pattern differentiation. What’s out of balance in your body? Looking at your tongue, feeling your pulse, and asking you questions about your symptoms and lifestyle helps us to determine where the imbalance lies, so we can come up with the best treatment plan for you.
We aim to restore harmony in the body through the placement of very fine needles in select acupuncture points, based on your unique pattern. Additionally, we may apply other modalities, such as cupping, scraping, tui na (massage), or moxibustion. We may also recommend herbal formulas and possibly supplementation with vitamins or minerals. If called for, we’ll refer you to another health professional to collaborate on your care, such as a psychotherapist or a naturopathic doctor (ND).
I’m on medication—can acupuncture still help, and is it safe?
Acupuncture is completely safe to do in conjunction with your medications. However, because certain herbs can interact with medications, we may need to hold back on herbal therapies. Eventually, a side effect may be that you do not require as much medication. In fact, (some of our patients seek us out for support while they taper off their meds), but that’s something you’ll need to discuss with your MD. As acupuncturists, we are not licensed to advise you on pharmaceuticals.
What can you do?
While we support your body in returning to a balanced state, it’s important that you take an honest look at circumstances in your life that may be pulling you perpetually out of balance.
- What is your stress level?
- Are you in a toxic environment, either at home or at work? If so, can you take steps to change that?
- What do you put into your system on a daily basis? What are you eating and drinking? What medications are you on, and have you had them re-evaluated recently? Are they still right for you?
- Do you make time in your life for self-care?
- Do you exercise? If not, can you start small by incorporating regular walks and stretching?
- What is your sleep hygiene? Are you getting sufficient rest at night? If not, what can you do about it? Do you suffer from insomnia?
Before your visit
Before you come to see us, take some time to jot down a few notes about your symptoms and lifestyle habits.
- What are the times you tend to feel most anxious or depressed? Is there a pattern? Are you more anxious in the morning or at night? More depressed or irritable before your menses? More tense when you’re at home or at work or around certain individuals?
- Is your anxiety or depression situational, or does it come on with no apparent rhyme or reason?
- Is it constant, or does it come and go?
- What helps you to feel better?
- How do food choices affect your mental-emotional wellbeing? Do certain foods, for instance gluten or dairy, impact how you feel emotionally? If so, how often do you consume these foods?
- Notice how drinking alcohol affects you, —both in the short-term and long-term. Do you feel better in the moment but worse the next day or two?