Welcome to my brand new, “Ask the Acupuncturist” weekly blog post.
Every Thursday, I’ll post some of my favorite acupuncture-related questions. If you have an idea or a question for a post, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you!
Social Worker asks, “I have a 17 year old patient who is suffering from anxiety & depression, but he doesn’t want to take medication, can acupuncture help him?”
The short answer is yes, in so many ways.
I have worked with many people for whom acupuncture has helped with generalized anxiety, reduced frequency of panic attacks, and elevated mood in debilitating depression.
In diagnosis and treatment, Chinese Medicine doesn’t separate the body from the mind and emotions. Each of your systems is connected and interacts with all the others. So when a patient is suffering from low motivation, sadness, insomnia, and poor digestion, the acupuncture treats those symptoms at the same time.
For patients who are taking medications for anxiety or depression, they often report that acupuncture significantly reduces the side effects of medication (headaches, weight gain, sexual side effects) and sometimes they are able to reduce their dosage with the supervision of their doctor.
During a treatment, there is an endorphin release in the body that induces the relaxation response. Often, patients fall asleep on the table and wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed (aka “acupuncture bliss”).
Here is what some of the research says about Acupuncture:
“A study published last fall in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that electroacupuncture—in which a mild electric current is transmitted through the needles—was just as effective as fluoxetine (the generic name of Prozac) in reducing symptoms of depression. For six weeks, patients underwent either electroacupuncture five times weekly or a standard daily dose of fluoxetine.” “After six weeks, both groups showed a similar improvement in symptoms.” from Scientific American.com