Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Acupuncture and Depression

Acupuncture and Depression
Depression is an illness involving the mind and the body and that because it affects how one feels, thinks, and behaves, depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems such as sadness, irritability or frustration, reduced sexual drive, insomnia or excessive sleeping, changes in appetite, agitation or restlessness, slowed thinking, indecisiveness, distractibility, fatigue, and loss of energy. So many symptoms for a single illness.  

Depression affects 26.2 % of all Americans, which means that when you board a bus to work in the morning, one in every four passengers is clinically depressed.  It is a hidden illness that often goes undiagnosed and untreated because we can easily blame its symptoms on something else.  Thus, we spend a lifetime convincing ourselves that when we say day after day, “I am so tired, I don’t feel like going out.  I’m not hungry, sexually motivated, or interested enough to participate,” it is just a defect in our personality. 

Depression changes people close to us.  Loved ones can feel a loss of emotional connection with someone who is depressed.  Friends at work may have to put in extra hours to make up for the loss of productivity when their co-workers’ depression interferes with their job. 

Western medicine has created drugs, which successfully treat many types of depression and anxiety.  Because these drugs are so powerful, however, suddenly starting, stopping, or changing dosage can lead to unpredictable outcomes.  Children and young adults, especially, may react to these medications in ways not predicted by FDA trials.   On the other hand, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, which uses the body and mind’s own mechanisms to combat depression, may be a safer first approach to less severe cases since innate systems are tweaked rather than radically altered. 

Depression and anxiety are associated with an imbalance of hormones such as serotonin, GABA, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and progesterone. Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been verified to make your own body produce balanced hormones, not too much, not too little. After patients have acupuncture treatment, they feel more motivated, happier and have more positive attitude. Chinese herbs also can help improve  different internal organs, such as adrenal gland, liver and stomach, to make your body produce the right amount of feeling good hormones such as serotonin, Dopamine, GABA and progesterone. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How Acupuncture can be used as a Remedy for Ailments

How Acupuncture can be used as a Remedy for Ailments

Acupuncture is a form of medicine which involves fine needles being inserted into the skin. It was started in ancient China and its use exists to date. But is acupuncture really effective? When can it be used and how can one insert the needles without causing excess pain? Acupuncture practitioners suggest that there are channels in the body known as meridians through which energy flows. This energy is also referred to as chi. Diseases and other conditions are as a result of chi not flowing freely through the body. Acupuncture, which is administered through acupoints in the body, can help in restoring health. It is a way of unblocking or influencing chi so that it can flow back in to a balanced mode.

Uses of Acupuncture

There is no specific disease that acupuncture is designed to treat. It is used for many different ailments and conditions, which has been proved by many scientific evidences.
Sometimes it is even combined with conventional medicine that has been prescribed by the doctor. It is advisable to let both the professionals know that a patient is also undergoing treatment from the other. Conventional health institutions consider acupuncture as a remedy option for lower back pain. It is however used for several other conditions especially involving muscles and bones, more so where there is pain. Some of these include pain in the neck, back, joints and dental pain. It can also be used for headaches and migraines as well as post operation pains.

Acupuncturists are able to deal with other forms of illnesses such as: Menstrual disorders and infertility problems, chronic fatigue, eczema, hay fever and other allergies, insomnia, stomach disorders such as the irritable bowel syndrome, vomiting and nausea experienced after an operation, withdrawal symptoms after a drug addiction. Acupuncture restores energy by cleansing the system. The detox action goes together with the balancing of energy (chi) which creates a relaxed and refreshed feeling.

How to Carry out Acupuncture

The optimal results for this treatment are obtained through a series of sessions. The body regains energy bit by bit because the effect of the treatment is cumulative. The immune system is balanced gradually and with time less pain is felt. The initial session involves an examination of medical history, general health and current physical condition. If a patient is suffering from a specific ailment, the acupuncturist will examine its symptoms and ask for information on any other forms of treatment received previously.

The needles inserted are very thin and are inserted at specific locations known as acupoints. Specialists use certain bones and muscles as reference points to help them locate the correct points. The points are believed to be energy points where energy is not flowing properly. Each point relates to a particular health condition or body function.
The session is mostly performed when the patient is sitting or lying down. The needles measure about 30mm long. They should be sterilized and are only used once and disposed immediately after. Out of over 500 acupuncture points in the body, only one to twelve are used at a time. The needles reach just under the skin or a little bit deeper to touch the muscle. At times pressure, heat or mild electrical current maybe applied together with the needles. They are left in that position for between 15 minutes and an hour.

As the needles go in, there is normally a slight itch, numbness or a tingling sensation. It may also be rolled slightly to and from. No significant pain should be felt, and any serious ache should be reported immediately. The slight itch should be an indicator that the energy flow or chi has been reached.

Author Bio: Ion Doaga who blogs at Top Shiatsu Massage about shiatsu, massagers, acupuncture and health related topics. You can reach him at