Anxiety & Depression

Ana has changed my life. I went to see her after I started having panic attacks in public due to stress and anxiety. I felt like it was consuming my life and there was no way out. I went to Ana because I heard acupuncture could help…and it did! She really listens to what is going on with you mentally and physically and thoroughly treats you as an individual. Within a few weeks I started to feel better and even got some herbs to help me deal with some stressful situations as work. I was so impressed with her work that I recommended my boyfriend go for his allergies and now he feels completely better! ~ Lindsay

Stress is a fact of life. Stress can be a healthy response when we feel events are beyond our control. When we are healthy and the stress is short-lived, we are usually able to recover without too drain on our overall health. However, when the stress is extreme, or if it lasts a long time, our emotional health and ultimately, our physical health begin to suffer.

Reacting to stress is instinctual. At the first sign of a threat, whether real or perceived, our sympathetic nervous system activates and facilitates a “fight or flight” response. Our heart rates increase, pupils dilate, and digestion temporarily decreases, directing blood to our extremities, so that if need be, we can either physically fight what is threatening us, or turn and run if the threat is too formidable.

Unfortunately, the “fight or flight” response, is commonly suppressed in modern contexts. Neither “fight” nor “flight” may be immediate options if the stress is due to excessive workload, a demanding boss, nasty co-worker, or stress at home. Often, the stress in our lives may be long-term, and as a result, we may live in a constant state of “fight or flight.” Over time, the constant state of stress takes its toll. Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone elevates, blood pressure increases, and our immune function is suppressed. Over time, these symptoms become worse and can develop into anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, digestive problems, and tension headaches.

In Chinese medicine, stress, anxiety, depression or any strong emotion interrupts the smooth flow of energy throughout the body. According to Chinese medical theory, energy flows through our body through a network of “channels.” Stress, anger, or any intense emotion can block the free flow of energy in these channels. Many people who are very stressed out complain of upper back, shoulder and neck pain. This is because stress is causing stagnation and the blockage of free flow of energy, causing pain, tightness, and often leading to headaches. A blockage in one area of the body can lead to blockages in other areas of the body, affecting digestion, sleep, pain conditions, and blood pressure.

By receiving acupuncture for anxiety, theses energy blockages can be addressed by removing the blockage and promoting a smooth energy flow. Acupuncture for anxiety alleviates not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself.

From a Western viewpoint, acupuncture for anxiety works to alleviate stress by releasing natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. In addition, acupuncture for anxiety improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.

In conjunction with acupuncture for anxiety, depending on your constitution and the causes and other symptoms of your anxiety, Chinese herbal therapy may also be prescribed.

Please also see my webpage on auricular acupuncture for depression. Below are some links to articles on the powerful effect specifically of auricular acupuncture for anxiety.

An Alternative Therapy for Depression

Millions of individuals are afflicted with depression. Many turn to Western antidepressant pharmaceuticals such as Effexor, Paxil, Elavil, Zoflot, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Trazodone as therapy for depression. Western pharmaceuticals can be beneficial by focusing on maintaining the serotonin levels in the brain. But, in addition to the side effects, the patients need to take them all the time. Acupuncture therapy for depression, combined with Chinese medicinal herbal therapy, can be a very effective alternative to treat depression, anxiety, stress-induced fatigue and emotions swings resulting in long-term benefits.

The difference between a Western pharmaceutical approach and the use of acupuncture for depression is that Chinese medical treatments treat the root cause(s) of disharmony, the internal imbalance caused by the exposure to external stress. Such stress, if not treated, can cause energy “blockage” or changes of the neurotransmitters such as a decrease of brain concentration of the serotonin levels-resulting in symptoms such as anxiety, poor sleep, fatigue, and eventually, depression.

If you are already taking antidepressant pharmaceuticals, acupuncture for depression can be a powerful support in therapy for depression by treating your constitution and the root cause(s) of disharmony in the body.