Treatment of depression and anxiety with TCM
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders in Australia today. Alarming rates of depression affect approximately 20-25% of Australians at some time in their life. Underlying low levels of anxiety within our society are rising as our stressful lives create an obstacle to balance, within our lives and ourselves.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the aim is to achieve this balance and return the body to a normal state of functioning. Mind and body are seen as synonymous in TCM where disharmony in one inevitably affects the other. Mental imbalance is often due to repressed or blocked emotion, other factors such as diet, illness, constitution and overwork may also be involved, causing impairment in the free flowing Qi (Energy) within the body. This ‘stagnation’ manifests as depression and anxiety with symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, lack of motivation, poor self-esteem, moodiness and chronic pain.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can significantly reduce these symptoms. Recent studies show that intensive acupuncture over 6 weeks can reduce chronic pain related stress in the neck and shoulders for over 3 years!
Scientific research suggests that acupuncture causes a reduction in cortisol levels. Cortisol is often referred to as the ‘stress hormone’ and is elevated at times of stress and anxiety and reduces at times of relaxation. If an individual has long-term chronic stress, cortisol levels will remain elevated. Consistently raised cortisol levels are a risk to health because they increase blood sugar, blood pressure and reduce immune responses, creating an environment in the body that is more susceptible to disease.
Acupuncture has also been known to balance serotonin and endorphins to encourage mental health.
Lifestyle factors such as regular exercise and a balanced diet are essential to a healthy mind and body and in conjunction with psychotherapy, meditation, herbal medicine, massage or acupuncture, can help us to get back into balance and find again, our innate nature of happiness and wellbeing.