Depression is a common mental health issue that affects people of all ages, gender, race, and background. Grief and sadness are normal human emotions and these feelings will eventually pass. But for many, these problems can become chronic or recurrent, interfering with daily life.
Major depression is a period of overwhelming sadness. It involves a loss of interest in things that used to bring pleasure. Those feelings are usually accompanied by other emotional and physical symptoms which are completely taxing. Anyone who has experienced this knows what this means. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that in the US, 6.9% of the population suffered a period of depression in 2012. Fortunately, most people can be effectively treated to get them through these times. Acupuncture can be used along side other forms of treatment such as medication and counseling, and sometimes acupuncture and lifestyle changes can be used independently to help.
There is not a single cause of depression. Brain chemistry, hormones, genetics, life events, and even a lack of sunlight can all contribute to a person's unhappiness. Depression can take different forms, from women suffering from postpartum depression, to someone with bipolar disorder, to the general feeling of inescapable discontent. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views health a little differently than what we're used to, where the mind and the body aren't single entities. The way a person feels physically and emotionally is treated as a whole.
According to TCM, depression is most commonly associated with the stagnation of Qi energy (pronounced Chee) in the body. Stagnation of Qi can be caused by different things such as a sedentary lifestyle, hormonal or chemical imbalances, or physical injury and can result in pain and discomfort, or feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. Speaking to the emotional aspect of this, Qi Stagnation is just that; getting stuck in a negative pattern of thinking, acting, or feeling. Qi that moves, however, can act as a positive force, and will help your body move more naturally through emotional times and those feelings of being mentally stuck.
The British Acupuncture Council published some really good information and research on what all this means:
Whatever your case may be, acupuncture could be the tool in moving you towards where you want and need to be. I can speak from personal experience as a practitioner and also as a patient. If you need more resources in dealing with depression, stress, or anxiety they are near you and please feel free to call or email me if you want to explore acupuncture as one of them.