Depression is more than just mood changes. It involves chronic anxiety, sadness and worthlessness. The consequence is that victims lose the interest they had in every physical and social activity they used to love. Often, they will complain of even physical pain, fatigue and insomnia. At this point, the therapist will prescribe antidepressants and other medications with significant side effects. The humanistic approach to treating depression and the use of acupuncture have been studied over the years and there hasn’t really been strong evidence to prove that acupuncture is a better substitute for counselling.
However, experts have found that a lot of that is because of the bias associated with the treatment itself.
A recent study showed when a group of participants were divided into three – acupuncture, counselling and usual care, those who underwent only acupunctural treatment showed the best score in their depression measure.
Acupuncture for depression: how does it work?
Many research efforts have been put into studying the benefits of using acupuncture for the treatment of depression. Some have come back saying the findings were inconclusive, while some have shown contradictory results. However, especially recently, there are numerous studies that show acupuncture actually works in the long-term treatment of depression.
Many of the studies into acupuncture for depression have been conducted in China where it is believed that if the body’s energy is blocked it can lead to all forms of illnesses like body pains and joint aches. It also leads to anxiety and, consequently, depression. Articles on http://www.acupuncturehealth.co.nz show that by using acupuncture, these blockages can be alleviated and western medicine supports it. Endorphins are known to not only work as painkillers but help to significantly improve mood.
It stimulates the nervous system, thereby allowing it to release neurochemical messenger molecules. The biochemical changes that follow help in ensuring both the physical and psychological wellbeing of the person. These are achieved without the side effects of using the usual care and medications.
Acupuncture treatment for depression during pregnancy
There is minimal risk in the use of acupuncture generally, but the regular method is often not recommended for pregnant women. However, one shouldn’t write off acupunctural therapy for pregnant women just yet. It is a known fact that women, as we said earlier, are more prone to depression than their male counterparts. This is common in some points of their lives like puberty and pregnancy. It is caused by hormonal instability experienced during these times. The depression associated with pregnancy is known as postnatal depression (postpartum).
The use of drugs like antidepressants in handling this kind of depression raises health risks for both the pregnant woman and the foetus, hence the need for a safer alternative treatment. Studies are available in which postpartum patients treated with acupuncture show a higher reduction rate and intensity than those undergoing other forms of treatment.
Risks and possible side effects
There are hardly any risks associated with acupuncture. The same assessment is true for when it is targeted to ease depression. But, where they occur, they are minimal. One may experience itching or bruising around the needle point or some allergic reaction to the needle (which is rare in acupuncture considering the size of the needles used). Sometimes bleeding from the needle points have been reported also.
Acupuncture points for treating depression
Below are the acupoints recognized to help in the treatment of depression using acupuncture:
- Master of Heart 6
You are more likely to experience side effects if acupuncture is administered by an inexperienced acupuncturist. Consult your doctor and ask them to recommend a good practitioner who understands the various acupoints for depression and knows good needling techniques to avoid lung puncture. Depression is a real and serious illness and you should seek help for it. If your doctor recommends using acupuncture, it is important you do not let any bias you may have for the treatment influence your choices.
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