depression

What does acupuncture treat? Here is a snapshot of last week in my practice!

I frequently have people ask what sort of conditions acupuncture can treat.  I realize that many people may not know how effective acupuncture is for a wide range of conditions so I was inspired to share with you a short list of some of the conditions that I treated last week in my Decatur office. It’s not meant to be comprehensive and many people come in with more than one issue.  These are their chief complaints.  If you’re wondering if acupuncture can help you, give me a call at 404-695-0905 or book an appointment online to find out!

  1. Several IVF support patients
  2. Hip and low back pain
  3. Chronic diarrhea
  4. Several patients with chemotherapy induced neuropathy of the hands and feet
  5. Congestion in the ear
  6. Idiopathic neuropathy of the feet
  7. Several patients experiencing chronic anxiety
  8. Bronchitis
  9. Several patients experiencing depression
  10. Menopause symptoms and bloating
  11. Low back and groin pain
  12. Painful menstrual cycle
  13. Nerve damage sequela
  14. Seasonal allergies
  15. Insomnia
  16. Hand pain
  17. Colitis
  18. Sinus headache
  19. Fatigue and general well-being
  20. Psosas constriction with hip pain
  21. Fatigue and lowered immune system
  22. Fertility support
  23. Cancer treatment support

As you can see, acupuncture effectively treats a wide range of conditions and this was just a snapshot of one week!  I would love to help you bring your health back into balance and feel like your best self yet.

Acupuncture Brings Hope for Healing Depression

Depression is the thief of joy.  It can make formerly happy people feel like nothing is good in their world and they have no energy to do anything about that.  I have had patients tell me they are too depressed to cry, that they just feel empty.  If you feel this way you are far from alone. 

In 2014 15.7 million adults in the US had at least one major depressive episode (1). The good news is that acupuncture can relieve depression.  In fact several studies have showed that acupuncture was as effective as anti-depressant medication (2). 

Depression is something I commonly treat in my clinic.  With a background in clinical social work it is a ‘language’ that I speak and understand.  Some people want to get off of anti-depressants because of the side-effects, some don’t want to go on medication, and some just want to feel better while taking the medication.  The bottom line is they all want to feel better: more joyful, lighter and happier. 

Sometimes depression is not even the reason why people come in for acupuncture.  They may come in for physical pain not knowing that acupuncture can relieve their feelings of hopelessness and grief stemming from the chronic pain. 

In Chinese Medicine there is not one “kind” of depression.  One person may be experiencing a lack of drive and enthusiasm in life.  In essence they have lost their joie de vivre, or joy of life, and they just don’t have the momentum to make lasting changes.  Another person may present with a lack of ideas, life dreams, hopes, inspiration or direction.  And another person is filled with angst, despair and an overwhelming sadness.  And still another broods and get stuck in their thinking…of the same thing over and over.  Lastly, some people who have a lot of anger or frustration have an underlying depression.  In psychiatry these would all be treated as depression with one anti-depressant drug or another.  While there can certainly be overlap I find that many people fall into one pattern or another.  Chinese Medicine treats each person’s unique presentation to resolve the root cause of depression, not just put a band-aid on the symptoms.  

If someone you know is experiencing depression and longing to return to joy please share this post with them.  If YOU are experiencing depression book an appointment today and rediscover your lightness of being. 

 

 

1.     Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50). Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/

2.     Wei Bo, Xu Yi, Clinical observations on acupuncture treatment for depression, Journal of Jinan University (Natural Science & Medicine Edition), 2013, 34(6).

Are you addicted to stress?

In my acupuncture practice I treat a lot of people who are busy.  Acupuncture makes them feel better so they make time for treatments but they are busy busy busy.  Their jobs keep them very busy.  9 to 5?  Try 9 to midnight.  They are answering emails, texts and calls at all hours.  “Off work” never happens.  They are passionate about what they do, very driven and very accomplished.  I love working with these smart, purpose-driven folks. 

Work is just one component of their busy lives.  They may be raising kids, taking care of grandkids, taking care of aging parents…or all three!  They may work until 5, have family time until 10 and then work another few hours.  Weekends are a juggling act trying to meet multiple needs and commitments. 

Sound familiar?  It is normative in our society and I often hear people voice guilt if they don’t maintain this level of busyness.  It’s not ‘wrong’ to be fully committed to your career and to your family.  However I do think they we can become addicted to stress. 

I used to do this.  I thought that I could only be creative or productive under deadline so I would wait until the last minute to write a paper or report, review a proposal, etc.  Under the threat of deadline the stress kicked in and I got it done…along with missed sleep, irritability and digestive issues. 

When we are stressed cortisol and adrenaline flood our body giving our brains and muscles and added boost.  We feel focused and purposeful.  This is great when we are getting up to give a speech or are racing to catch a train to the airport.  Things to awry when this never gets turned off and chronic stress has cortisol and adrenaline dripping into our systems constantly.  Chronic stress causes an array of physical and emotional problems such as depression, weight gain, heart disease, muscle aches and insomnia.  We are exhausted and can become addicted to the rush of stress induced cortisol and adrenaline. 

You can ditch the cycle of stress response and you’ll be more productive, healthy and balanced.  Acupuncture can reset your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (e.g. the flight or fight response) giving you space to cultivate new, healthier, habits.  You’ll feel better, look better and perform better.  Ready for a new stress-free you? 

Amp Up Your Well-Being With Gratitude

This blog post has nothing to do with acupuncture...but it does cover something that I talk with my patients about and that I practice daily.  Gratitude.  It is part of a holistic approach to great well-being.  Many of my patients come in because they are stressed out, anxious, depressed, irritable or have just lost their zest for life.  Acupuncture gets them back on the road to more peace and joy.  Practicing gratitude amplifies and sustains the effects of the acupuncture treatments. 

Did you know there is a science behind gratitude as an essential part of happiness?  Researchers have discovered that gratitude boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine…the same neurotransmitter that the antidepressant Wellbutrin increases.  Prozac works on the neurotransmitter serotonin…so does gratitude!  According to neuroscience researcher Alex Korb (author of The Upward Spiral) you don’t even have to find something to be grateful for, the process of searching for it is sufficient!  Take in a daily dose of gratitude and watch the inner shift take place.    

So, how can you cultivate gratitude on a daily basis?  Here are a few ideas to try out.  Add your own ideas in the comment section!

Some ways to practice gratitude:

  • Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily or weekly lists.  Daily is better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
  • Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.

So don’t wait for Thanksgiving, start giving thanks today.  For gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time. That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a gift. 

Broken or Broken Open?

We all have had or will have experiences that break us, at least a little.  Heartbreak.  The loss of a loved one.  Illness.  We can allow these experiences to be a stopping point and get stuck there or be a learning point and a catalyst for growth. 

When we are deep in the pain it can be hard to see the learning, the opportunity for growth and change.  Sometimes we get stuck there for years.  We may yearn for the past or spend our time fantasizing about the future.  Either way we are not able to fully live in the present.  We may allow ourselves to get so bound up by heartbreak we cannot open to new love.  Or maybe we are paralyzed by the fear that what killed our mother/father will befall us as well. 

What on earth does all of this have to do with acupuncture?  Acupuncture can have a powerful effect on an emotional and spiritual level.  According to Daoist traditions different acupuncture points and channel systems influence the psyche on a deep level.  If you are stuck in emotional pain acupuncture can help open you up to a new way of seeing, instigating a shift in perspective that allows you to become unstuck.  A shift from being broken to be broken open.  As the great Sufi mystic Rumi said “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”  When you are broken open you can heal, you can grow, you can gain a level of insight that may have previously been unavailable. 

If you are ready to move from feeling broken to the experience of being broken open give me a call today!

P.S. Thanks to Reverend David Ault (www.davidault.com) for the inspiration for this blog post!