At Sirius Health we are committed to providing our patients with access to drug-free healthcare, including acupuncture for depression and anxiety. Much progress is being shown in the use of acupuncture to treat anxiety and depression, highly prevalent mental health conditions that affect millions of Australians every year. Let’s take a look at how acupuncture works and how it may benefit depression and anxiety as a treatment modality.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the placement of needles at specific energy points or meridians in the body. Meridians run throughout your body and are associated with certain organs.
When there is congestion, or blockages in these meridians, your acupuncturist can clear them, correcting any blockages or imbalances in your body.
How Does Acupuncture Help Depression?
Acupuncture is beneficial for depression because of its ability to regulate energy flow throughout the body, and its ability to stimulate the production of endorphins, which are essential for mental health and wellbeing.
Endorphins are “feel good” chemicals released in the brain. They are important for our ability to respond appropriately to physical and emotional stimuli like digestive function, blood pressure, pain and heart rate.
Acupuncture is especially useful in the treatment of depression in pregnant women, who may have fewer medical treatment options available to them.
Acupuncture may be used on its own or in combination with other forms of treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy and / or medications in order to treat the symptoms of depression.
Using Acupuncture In The Treatment Of Anxiety
Anxiety is a debilitating mental health disorder that can compromise a person’s quality of life. Managing anxiety can make day-to-day life very difficult – and acupuncture offers a safe alternative without the side effects caused by a number of medications used to treat it.
The human body manages stress through a mechanism called heart rate variability (HRV). Our bodies manage our heart rates in response to the environments around us, and having a higher HRV is associated with better health and stress coping ability.
Acupuncture can help the body’s ability to deal with stress by improving its HRV.
When our brain is under stress, we also release neurochemicals. Acupuncture has been found to calm the production of neurochemicals down.
Considering Acupuncture For Depression And Anxiety
Different types of medication can be prescribed for depression and anxiety but not all patients respond favourably to the medication. In some patients the benefits of antidepressants do not outweigh the side effects. The most common side effects include sedation, memory difficulties and sleep disturbances. For patients who do respond to medication it can take a while to find the correct dosage.
Many patients find they can manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression through an integrated approach that may include acupuncture, CBT and or medication.
Why We Believe Acupuncture Is An Effective Treatment For Anxiety And Depression
Acupuncture stimulates the body’s own self-healing process and can be used effectively to manage a range of health conditions. It is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used for more than 3000 years.
Acupuncture has proven beneficial for the nervous system, immune and endocrine systems. Through stimulating the different systems, patients can experience pain relief, sleep improvements, improved digestion and a heightened sense of wellbeing.
More evidence backed studies are needed to evaluate just how effective acupuncture can be at managing anxiety and depression. To date, the studies that have been conducted have had small sample sizes and have not always provided conclusive results.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
Each person is different and the number of treatments or length of treatment time will differ between patients. Your practitioner will discuss this with you, once you have had one treatment. Your treatment duration will also depend on any other forms of treatment you may be having.
The idea of treatment is to reach a stage of improvement in a few sessions that close together, and then to scale your sessions down to a smaller number for maintenance.
It is important to note that you should always consult your healthcare practitioner before making any decisions about medication, whether you are changing your dose or wanting to come off medication.
Both anxiety and depression can severely interfere with a person’s quality of life, and millions of people are seeking solutions to help them to manage these conditions. Many of them are resistant to conventional treatment approaches. Acupuncture offers people a new treatment avenue to explore, in a bid to find a solution that makes daily life more manageable.
While acupuncture might not seem like everyone’s cup of tea at first glance, a number of patients find success simply because they have exhausted all other options.
If you are ready for a second opinion about acupuncture for depression and anxiety, it is time to speak to a professional. Don’t suffer in silence, please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9159 6903.