Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are a variety of healing approaches that have historically not been included in conventional medicine. Many parts of CAM are derived from ancient systems of healing, such as those found in China and India.
The popularity of CAM over the last couple of years, however, has grown. Many people are drawn to the fact that CAM practices look at health in a holistic fashion, restoring balance to the physical, emotional and spiritual systems of the whole person. This is especially true when it comes to the treatment of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Common CAM practices include yoga, chiropractic and massage therapy, dietary supplements, and herbal medicines. Acupuncture is another type of CAM practice, and is considered the most popular due to its use in treating a wide range of conditions. Specifically, recent studies have shown that acupuncture is a valuable supplemental treatment for anxiety and depression.
What is Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique believed to have been developed in China several thousand years ago. The practice was based on the idea that physical and mental ailments were the result of imbalances of energy in the body. This energy, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, was called Qi. When the body is functioning correctly, the Qi will flow through certain channels in the body unhindered. If these channels become congested, this is when disorders or diseases occur.
The goal then of acupuncture is to unblock these channels to allow the Qi to flow freely and restore balance to mind and body. This is achieved by ultra-thin needles being inserted into specific points on the body where the blockage of energy may be occurring.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions worldwide. For most who suffer from this disorder, the go-to treatment is usually a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Many are finding however that acupuncture is a viable alternative treatment option.
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the psychical symptoms of anxiety faster than therapy and patients have been able to cut back on their medications. These treatments help to address rapid breathing, heartbeat, insomnia, headaches, digestive issues which are all common with anxiety. Those who have experienced the healing benefits of acupuncture report feeling peaceful and calm.
The symptoms of depression are both physical and psychological. They include immense sadness, fatigue, feelings of guilt, worthlessness and an overall lack of interest in things that used to bring joy. In depression, these feelings can be overwhelming and last for long period’s of time, having a huge impact on one’s quality of life.
For the treatment of depression, acupuncture has been shown to have positive results when used in several ways. By using acupuncture in conjunction with psychotherapy, you remove the reliance on prescription drugs while still having a positive outcome. If acupuncture is used in combination with antidepressants, it has been found to be more effective than just the antidepressant alone. Acupuncture also helps to support the patients body while using an antidepressant by treating some unwanted side effects.
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