Treating Depression with Acupuncture

A Natural Therapy for Depression

barefoot-walking-earthing-300x300Are you looking for a natural therapy to treat your depression? I offer many types of acupuncture treatment for depression. As an acupuncturist, I recognize that you are a unique individual with your own set of emotional symptoms. Acupuncture is not a ‘one size fits all’ treatment so neither is acupuncture therapy for depression.

Acupuncture and Your Emotions

One of the main things people notice when they come in for acupuncture treatment – no matter what condition we are treating – is that they feel happier and less stressed! This is because acupuncture is naturally harmonizing for the mind and body so they work together to enhance all of your functions. People report that they feel more emotional well being as their acupuncture treatment progresses. Why is that?

Acupuncture Treats Function

Acupuncture excels at treating all functions of the body. Your emotions are one of those functions just like your digestion, your sleep, and the ability to walk, climb stairs, or bend over to pet the dog without pain. For acupuncturists – emotions are just as important as any other complaint you might have. An emotional symptom – such as depression – carries the same weight clinically as any physical symptom and is treated as a priority concern.

Depression affects an estimated 1 in 10 adults according to the CDC

Depression affects more women than men according to NIMH

Types of Depression 

According to NIMH, there are many categories of depression. Here are 3 of the major classifications of depression. For a more complete picture of depression, please visit the NIMH website.

Major depressive disorder or major depression

Symptoms that interfere with a your ability to go to work, study or concentrate, sleep, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents you from functioning normally. Some people may experience only a single episode within their lifetime. More often a person may have multiple episodes.

Dysthymic disorder, or dysthymia

Long-term (2 years or longer) symptoms that prevent normal functioning or feeling well. There may be one or more major depression episodes over your lifetime.

Minor depression

Milder symptoms for 2 weeks or longer that do not meet full criteria for major depression. Without treatment, people with minor depression are at higher risk for developing major depressive disorder.

Symptoms of Depression

Some of the common symptoms of depression are:

  • Little interest or pleasure in daily activities
  • Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Waking too early
  • Sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating or poor memory
  • Irritability and easily overwhelmed or frustrated
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Appetite loss or overeating
  • Thoughts of suicide and Chronic pain

Is Acupuncture an Alternative Treatment to Anti-depressants?

Acupuncture provides natural relief from symptoms of depression. Acupuncture treats depression by assisting your body and mind in coming into harmony.  If you are already taking anti-depressant medication, acupuncture usually increases the effectiveness of your anti-depressants.

At times, my patients seek acupuncture to assist them in reducing or eliminating the need for anti-depressants. In those cases, I always advise them to work with their doctor. After approximately 10 acupuncture treatments, many patients begin reducing their anti-depressant under guidance of the prescribing doctor. With acupuncture support, depression can be treated.

How Many Acupuncture Treatments Will I Need?

Patients with mild or recent depression report significant relief within 5 to 10 treatments. Those with symptoms that have been ongoing or have lasted for many years begin to find relief within 10 acupuncture treatments.The addition of our new Neuro Acupuncture is very exciting! Using just a few scalp needles, most of my patients report a feeling of well being right on the table. With continued treatment, most depression symptoms are relieved and become very manageable. Most of my patients experience a gradual lifting of depression. You should notice that you can do more activities, be more social, and begin to feel a general sense of ease as your depression symptoms begin to change.

 **If you are having thoughts of suicide, please advise your doctor or therapist before seeking natural treatment**

Depression Research Studies

Acupuncture is an effective therapy for major depressive disorder

New research concludes that acupuncture is an effective monotherapy for major depressive disorder. Researchers from the Depression Clinical Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) cited prior research as the basis for this investigation. In a follow-up investigation, the researchers examined the safety and efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of depression as a standalone therapy.

Acupuncture Treatment for Women with Depression

A new pilot study by researchers at the University of Arizona confirmed that acupuncture is a promising treatment for major depression in women. After completion of acupuncture treatment, 70% of women experienced at least a 50% reduction of symptoms, results comparable to the success rate of psychotherapy and medication.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Acupuncture for S.A.D.

Is S.A.D. a disorder? It really depends on the severity of your symptoms. S.A.D. occurs during the change of seasons so it is called ‘seasonal’. Acupuncturists know that moods fluctuate with the seasons. Chinese medicine recognizes that our bodies are a microcosm of the natural world and that our bodies are composed of the same elements that occur in nature. As a smaller version of nature, we are intimately connected to changes that occur during seasonal cycles. Shouldn’t our moods be expected to shift accordingly?