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How can acupuncture help me?

I've had depression for years and I was doing a little reading about acupuncture and am hoping someone can explain how it might help me.

Asked 9 years ago by lynn.j
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Posted 9 years ago

As a physician with his own depression problems, and as someone who has found acupuncture quite helpful for both depression and anxiety, I am currently training to place needles myself. How the method works is not clear. From traditional Chinese perspectives, the needles realign Qi, or energy, as it flows through the body's many meridians, thus healing spirit, body and mind. A Western view would be that acupuncture stimulates changes in neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the brain. It may do one or both of these things, but it also enforces a period of calm relaxation, and increases one's body awareness, which are helpful on their own.

Critics argue that acupuncture is simply an elaborate placebo, but more and more the placebo response is being understood as the body's innate healing capacity. Thus, even if acupuncture is 'merely' a placebo, it is an effective one, and hence worth looking into. Sharon Begley has written articles, including one for Newsweek, strongly arguing that standard antidepressant medication is also 'merely' a placebo. So although many Western physicians dismiss acupuncture as nothing more than a placebo, by rights they should similarly dismiss antidepressants. But of course they don't. Why not? Because many are greatly helped by antidepressants, just as they can be helped by acupuncture. If something works, why not try it? If it helps with depression, how it works may be immaterial.

If you do try it, give it at least six weeks, just as doctors typically give antidepressant medications about that length of time to work. And the more you do in addition (exercise, meditation, therapy, fun activities, and so on), the more likely you are to get better. Good luck.

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miniparki 9 years ago

Are there things we can look for before the six weeks? Six weeks seems like an awfully long time to wait to see if anything good is happening.

Will Meecham 8 years ago

Most people feel calmer and better centered after just one or two acupuncture treatments. Aches, pains, and other bodily discomforts are likely to lessen early. But depression is a form of depletion, and it takes time to replete the body's energy. If one experienced absolutely no change after three treatments, it would make sense to question whether to continue. On the other hand, if the body felt a little better, and the mind a little calmer, but depression persisted after the same amount of time, it would be worth going ahead with acupuncture for a longer period.

Posted 9 years ago

Acupuncture is purported to realign the energy fields in the body. Energy circulates the body and can become blocked which causes malfunction in the form of emotional or physical discomfort. Using needles to stimulate energy flow is how acupuncture works. Many people say it's great for depression, including me!

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Posted 9 years ago

It's true! Many people find relief with acupuncture! Check out FoundHealth's article on Depression and Acupuncture.

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