I recently heard a surprising statistic. One in four adults in our country are on some sort of medication for psychological disorders. The bulk of these are for anxiety and depression. I can't help but wonder the obvious: what led our society to be so stressed, anxious, nervous, and depressed? While that is a huge topic to tackle, I can address is ways that we can cope with and heal from these disorders.
Pharmaceuticals are one approach to dealing with mental well being, but they are not the only, or necessarily, best solution. I worry when I see patients taking these medications as they are often a slippery slope. One drug often causes side effects that are then combatted with another drug, and ultimately leave a patient with a host of "side effects" that they can't seem to get rid of. I can't tell you how many times I see patients for impotence or chronic headaches that are ultimately due to their anti-anxiety meds.
There are many natural ways to combat anxiety and depression. It takes some work, but with patience and dedication to their treatment, I have seen countless patients have incredibly positive results. Here are a few tools that I have to help:
During an acute bout of anxiety or depression, I often recommend a patient comes in 1-2 times a week for a few treatments, and then reduce the freequence to 1-2 times a month. We often see results quickly. Usually after the first treatment patients notice a huge change in their emotions. With consistent treatment, overtime, results with acupuncture alone can be remarkable.
Though many patients are turned off by taking anything due to their history of trying drug after drug, Herbal medicine is different. Drugs often are proven to work on only a certain percentage of the popuation that they are prescribed to, and doctors tend to try drug after drug until they find one that makes a difference. Not all depression is the the same. Not all anxiety comes from the same source. And Chinese medicine recognizes this. In western medicine these diagnoses are lumped together as being the same, and treated with the same drugs. In Chinese medicine, we have an incredibly in-depth diagnostic system that allows the practitioner to prescribe a specific herbal formula that is tailored to the individual's needs and to treat the true root of the issue. Every symptom, including the patient's tongue and pulse presentations are taken in to consideration in order to prescribe a formula, for that patient alone. This system of diagnosis provides for more effective treatment, without the breadth of side effects.
Qi Gong & Movement
In Chinese medicine, we talk a lot about "Qi". This is the energy that allows your body to function. Anxiety and depression can be due to a stagnation of qi. We live such sedentary lives in this society. By moving your body, you are moving your qi, and this is a great tool to treat anxiety and depression.
But not all movement is created equally. Yes, it is true that a simple walk around the block or a visit to your gym can be effective. However, qi gong is a movement form consisting of movements that are specific to nourishing different health concerns. Moving the qi in your body with qi gong exercises is the most effective form of healing through movement.
These are just some of the tools I have in my toolbox for helping with mental and emotional disorders. If you'd like to get a specific treatment protocol that is right for you, feel free to contact me to schedule a consultation. It's my goal that every treatment I give is focused on restoring and maintaining a robust state of health and wellbeing, while supporting the body to prevent future issues.