Anxiety and Depression

Recommended Treatments

Acupuncture is the most commonly recommended treatment in the management of anxiety and depression. Some patients may also need Chinese herbal medicine treatment whilst others find acupressure an extremely soothing treatment for immediate relaxation that can be particularly useful when combined with the main acupuncture therapy.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help With Anxiety and Depression?

Stress disorders in Chinese medicine are commonly caused by a problem with the circulation of Qi, or energy, in the body. Whilst acute stress is necessary to challenge us in everyday life, chronic stress can become unmanageable and can lead onto many other problems such as headaches, insomnia, digestive problems and neck and shoulder pain. Chinese Medicine can help you to combat stress and treat the root cause of disharmony in the body by correcting the free-flow of Qi, nourishing the Qi and by calming the mind.

Western clinical research has shown that acupuncture can help to regulate levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in our emotional wellbeing. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with problems such as depression, obesity, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, anxiety disorders and insomnia. By encouraging the body to synthesize and release more serotonin in the body, acupuncture can help you cope better with stressful situations and promote emotional well-being in the body and mind.

Acupuncture for Anxiety and Depression

Acupuncture points that are most commonly used in the treatment of stress disorders are located on the hands and feet which allow the Qi to circulate better in the body. Lily may also use points on the lower leg, the abdomen and the back to help replenish the Qi of certain organs so that it can deal with symptoms of low levels of Qi (fatigue, dizziness, poor appetite, palpitations, poor concentration). Points may also be chosen on the face and scalp for patients who suffer from headaches or problems with sleep. Patients often report feeling immediately calmer during an acupuncture treatment and can leave the treatments feeling extremely relaxed.

Acupressure for Anxiety and Depression

If you are feeling particularly stressed out and wish to experience a gentler alternative to acupuncture, acupressure treatments are the ideal treatment for you. Acupressure treatments with Lily have been specially designed to promote relaxation in the patient and, like all other treatments with Lily, are completely tailored to your requirements. During these treatments, points on the face, scalp and the body will be gently pressed with the hands and fingers using specialized techniques that encourage your mind to clear and tension to be eased. After the treatment, expect to leave feeling completely de-stressed, re-balanced and free from worries.

Ear-seed acupressure is a supplementary therapy commonly used alongside acupuncture treatments and can be particularly effective for patients who require immediate and momentary relief from a stressful situation such as during work or when suffering from a panic attack. Lily will place small plasters containing a Chinese herbal seed onto carefully selected points on the ear that correspond to different organs. When these points are pressed firmly, these organs in the body are stimulated to promote relaxation in the body. These points should be pressed on a daily basis and at times when you are suffering from a particularly stressful situation.

Chinese Herbal Medicine for Anxiety and Depression

Chinese herbal medicine can be used alone for patients who may not be suitable for acupuncture or who do not wish to have acupuncture. It may also be combined with acupuncture for patients who require a stronger treatment.

Most patients that require Chinese herbal medicine will be prescribed patent medicines. These are herbal medicines that are manufactured based on a common Chinese herbal prescription specifically used for stress or depression. Following on from your consultation, Lily will be able to prescribe you the patent that is most suitable for your condition and provide you with a box of tablets which is usually administered on a daily basis. Patent herbal medicines are the least individualized form of herbal medicine because it is based on a generic prescription of several different Chinese herbs but it is hugely popular because it is convenient to administer and relatively inexpensive.

Course Of Treatment

Patients tend to respond relatively quickly to acupuncture or acupressure treatments and can feel relaxed almost immediately during the treatment. However, this response is unlikely to be maintained during the time in between your initial treatments and it is common to require a minimum of five weekly treatments in order to assess your overall response to acupuncture.

Chinese herbal medicine can help most patients within two weeks of administration. However, some patients will need to take Chinese herbal medicines for four weeks in order for the herbs to have the opportunity to replenish the body's energies before they can see any benefit.

Acupressure treatments provide patients with the opportunity to take time out to unwind and can provide immediate relief from stress and tension. Acupressure is a milder and gentler treatment and can be used by itself for patients interested in general stress and wellbeing. For patients who require a stronger treatment, acupressure is best incorporated alongside the main acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine treatments.

Self-Help Techniques

•  Stress-management techniques such as writing to-do lists can help some people feel more in control about their tasks and so that you won't forget important tasks or chores.

•  Make sure you incorporate relaxation time every day, even if it is just half an hour a night. And you can do anything you find relaxing - be it spending some quality time with your family or friends, or just chilling out having a bath, reading a book or doing some relaxation exercises like yoga or breathing exercises.

•  Try not to skip your lunch breaks. Take your full lunch break and don't eat in front of your computer as this will encourage you to eat quickly to get back to work again. Instead, go to the staff cafeteria with your colleagues or take a packed lunch to a park nearby so that your mind can fully relax.

•  Cut down on your caffeine intake. Caffeine can give your body a temporary boost of adrenalin but taking too much caffeine can keep you in an agitated and jumpy state.

References

Cabyoglu MT , Ergene N, Tan U. The mechanism of acupuncture and clinical applications. 
Int J Neurosci. 2006 Feb;116(2):115-25. Review.

Larzelere MM, Wiseman P. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Prim Care. 2002 Jun;29(2):339-60, vii. Review.

Walling A. Therapeutic modulation of the psychoneuroimmune system by medical acupuncture creates enhanced feelings of well-being. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2006 Apr;18(4):135-43. Review.