Chinese Medicine views that we human beings (just like all other living organisms) are made of three different aspects: body, mind, and spirit. Physical symptoms may stem from mental/emotional/spiritual disorders; emotional issues are often being displayed as physical ailments as the body and mind are seamlessly woven together in one energy field. Therefore, treating emotional/mental issues only with medications, without addressing inter-related physiological counterparts, is not only ineffective, but may exacerbate the conditions.
In Chinese medicine, the underlying causes of anxieties/depression differ drastically from one patient to another. Typically, Chinese medical practitioners look for “pattern disharmonies” in treating depression/anxiety patients. The most prominent pattern disharmonies in depression disorders are:
* Heart and Spleen Qi deficiency – Physical symptoms may include palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, lack of appetite, fatigue, poor digestion, and a pale tongue. Emotional symptoms include excessive worry and feeling timid.
* Heart Yin deficiency – Physical symptoms may include absentmindedness, dizziness, insomnia, low back soreness, dryness, sensations of heat, tinnitus, and a red tongue with little coating. Emotional symptoms include sensitivity and irritability. Yin deficiency is commonly seen during menopause.
* Excessive Phlegm – Physical symptoms may include obesity, feeling weighted down, congestion, dizziness, fatigue and a swollen tongue. Emotional symptoms include depression and feeling cloudy or experiencing dullness of thought.
* Liver Qi stagnation – Physical symptoms may include nausea, bloating, premenstrual symptoms, rib-side pain, belching and possibly insomnia. Emotional stress affects the liver and includes irritability, frustration, and anger.
* Liver and/or Heart fire – Fire is often caused by prolonged Liver Qi stagnation. Symptoms include a bitter taste in the mouth, headaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, sores in the mouth, red eyes, red face and a quick temper.
Depending on pattern diagnosis, acupuncture protocols are determined to address the underlying causes. Generally, results with acupuncture and herbs are cumulative, improving week by week. Treatment begins with one or two sessions per week and tapers off as the condition improves.
Acupuncture and herbs are not only safe, but also effectively used together with anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. Many patients find these medications to be inadequate at completely resolving their symptoms. Others, together with their doctors, would like to wean themselves to lower dosages in order to decrease the occurrence of side effects. Most patients turn to acupuncture and herbs for a variety of reasons – mostly because of their clinical success.