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The Buddhist Triangle

There are many acupuncture points in addressing anxiety issues.  Most famous one is called “YinTang” which is located in the midpoint between the eyebrows. Another one is “TaiYang” which is right on the temples, between the outer edge of the eyes and the hairline. I’ve written about these points many times previously. Beside these points, many doctors in China use the Buddhist triangle points in treating anxiety and depression.

buddhist triangleThe Buddhist triangle is situated on your wrist. As shown in the picture, three points–Lung 9, Pericardium 6, and Heart 7– form a triangle on the palmar side of the wrist. Three of these points form a potent combination to reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system.  

Lung 9 (On the radial crease of the wrist where the radial artery pulsates): As the ‘source point’ of the Lung meridian, this point opens up the blockage of the entire Lung meridian. This point makes breathing easier, reduce phlegms, eliminate asthmatic conditions, and warm cold hands and feets. Since the Lung is directly associated with “grief and sadness,” opening up Lung 9 will alleviate overall feeling of sadness, depression, heaviness of the heart.

Pericardium 6 (On the palmar aspect of the forearm, about 1.5 inches above the crease of the wrist, between two tendons): PC 6 opens the chest, protects the heart, calms the spirit, relieves nausea and vomiting. This is an extremely popular and useful point. It is very helpful in treating insomnia, melancholiness, and repressed emotions.

Heart 7 (On the ulnar crease of the wrist between two tendons): Called ShenMen (meaning the gate of spirit), HT7 is the source point of the heart meridian. This point is widely used in treating insomnia, amnesia, cardiac pain, palpitations due to fright, mania, epilepsy, and even stupor. HT7 is “the” point for emotional issues, especially excessive anxiety and worry.

A gentle but firm pressure on these triangle points for 4-5 seconds each, twice a day, may provide a significant relief in dealing with anxiety, depression, frustration, eating disorders, pent-up anger, and other repressive emotions. You can use blunt side of a ballpoint pen in pressing these points.  

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Anxiety Level Has Really Shot Up

If you find yourself becoming more anxious lately, please know that you are not alone. In fact, anxiety seems to be a national epidemic or a global pandemic.

More Americans suffering from stress, anxiety and depression, study finds–CBS News, April 17, 2017

anxiety

Citing a recent study conducted by NYU Langone Medical Center, CBS reported that more Americans than ever before are stressed, depressed, and anxiety-ridden. The lead manager of the study said: “Mental illness is on the rise. Suicide is on the rise. And access to care for the mentally ill is getting worse.” http://www.cbsnews.com/news/stress-anxiety-depression-mental-illness-increases-study-finds/   This news story attributed the major reason for increasing anxiety to economic/financial worries. Even though financial issues are certainly one of the biggest concerns in anxiety, I think their conclusions are shallow and limiting.

Another interesting story on high level of anxiety was published by The Guardian on April 16, 2017. Will Hutton, principal of Hertford College and Oxford, wrote: We live with an epidemic of anxiety. In 1980, 4% of Americans suffered a mental disorder associated with anxiety. Today half do. The trends in Britain are similar. A third of Britons will experience anxiety disorder  at some stage in their life, with an explosion of reported anxiety among teenagers and young adults. Anxiety, depression, self-harm, attention deficit disorder and profound eating problems afflict our young as never before. Hutton concluded that only fundamental social change can defeat the anxiety epidemic. I can’t agree with him more.

If you believe that anxiety is prevalent only in western countries, think again. The Times of India said one out of every four Indians suffer from anxiety disorders, while 10% of the  Indian populations are clinically depressed (Oct 6, 2013). The rest of the world may not be that much different from these statistics.

How can we not be trapped in anxiety in the midst of increasing terror-attacks, social unrest, economic uncertainties, political shenanigans, information overloads, and crazy weather patterns? Clearly, all of us are being challenged at many different levels.

 

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Anxiety–Our Formidable Foe

Although I’ve written on anxiety/depression many times, a dramatic increase of calls/inquiries regarding anxiety made me re-address the same subject one more time. In fact, I’ve never seen this kind of spike on anxiety concerns for the last 15 years. Shockingly, it’s not just among adults; more teenagers and children under 10 report that they simply cannot cope. Many people are at a loss about what to do with growing anxiety. In the next two blog articles,  I will examine why anxiety has become a national epidemic and introduce Buddhist triangle acupuncture points, hoping that self-administered acupressure on these points may provide much-needed help in relieving anxiety, depression, and stress.

 

Chinese Medicine in Treating Anxiety and Depression

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.

Nutrition and Diet Tips for Anxiety and Depression

Whether it is anxiety or depression, when it comes to any physiological and/or emotional issues, I need to repeat myself: Stay away from three food items: Sugar, Wheat, and Dairies. All these foods create empty heat in the body, dampen the body, and block the energy flow. Just removing these foods for even one week can make a huge difference in one’s emotional landscape.

Foods Helping Anxiety/Depression

Asparagus, avocados, and berries

Garlic, onion, cinnamon, and honey

Cashews, walnuts, and sunflower seeds

Chamomile tea, and green tea

Oysters, and grass-fed beef

Nutritional Supplements Recommended for Anxiety/Depression

Fish oil

Vit D, Vit B12, Vit C

Calcium

Probiotics

5HTP

Theamine(GABA)

St. John’s Wort

Valerian Root

L Tryptophan

Note: I have successfully used the following Standard Process products in treating anxiety/depression patients:

B6-Niacynamide, Mineral Tranquilizer, Orchex, E-Poise, Zymex, Livaplex, and Calcium Lactae.

Anxiety versus Depression

Most psychiatrists make a distinction between anxiety and depression, primarily because they need to prescribe different medications to their patients.  Here’s how they are differentiated.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are characterized by a deep sense of doubt, feeling inadequate and vulnerable especially for future events. Fear, excessive worries, unexplained physical sensations, and lack of self protective behaviors are typically displayed. The attention of anxious people is usually focused on their future prospects, and they anticipate outcomes opposite from what they desire to see.

Depression

The key symptoms of depression include:

* Feeling sad, and/or hopeless
* Lack of interest and enjoyment in activities that used to be fun and interesting
* Physical aches and pains without physical cause; lack of energy
* Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and/or making decisions
* Changes in appetite and weight
* Unwelcome changes in usual sleep pattern
* Thoughts of death and suicide

Do they sound markedly different from each other?  In my observation, they are very similar in a sense that anxiety/depression patients’ energy fields are far more susceptible to negative emotions than positive ones. I have not witnessed any anxious person who is not depressed, or vice versa.

For some patients, medications may be absolutely necessary. However, in a majority of cases, once their internal “imbalances” are fixed, anxiety/depression can be lessened relatively easily.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Cancer Patients

The National Cancer Institute’s latest research says the following: Acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of illnesses and ailments. Cancer patients use it for pain management, control of nausea and vomiting, fatigue, hot flashes, xerostomia(dryness in the mouth), neuropathy, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance.

Acupuncture is routinely employed in many large-scale cancer institutions in the U.S., including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. An increasing number of hospitals with special cancer centers have adopted acupuncture as their adjunct services.

Nausea and Vomiting

The dreaded nausea and vomiting which commonly occurs in some patients undergoing chemotherapy can often be worse than the disease itself. At the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, a well-controlled study reported significant reduction of nausea and vomiting when pre-treated with acupuncture. It is now routinely administered before, after and in between chemotherapy treatment sessions for control or nausea and emesis. The effectiveness of acupuncture in minimizing nausea and vomiting is often far superior to the standard, expensive multi-drug anti-nausea regimens.

Post-surgery Pain Control

It is widely known that acupuncture is a powerful tool for general pain control. Acupuncture is effective for control of pain, of local swelling post-operatively, for shortening the resolution of hematoma and tissue swelling. Acupuncture can also aid in minimizing use of medications and their attendant side effects.

There’s no difference in treating cancer patients vs. non-cancer patients in reducing the pain syndromes.  Since every patient demonstrates different etiologies, constitutional characteristics, and medical histories, acupuncture treatments can vary significantly across patients. Reduction of pain sensations after acupuncture treatments is quite remarkable.

Re-balancing Energy and Unblocking Energy Flow

Instead of focusing only on pain syndromes, Chinese medicine and Acupuncture adopts a wider patho-physiology approach by directing healing energy of the entire body. Most acupuncturists approach cancer patients to restore overall-balance of a patient’s energy patterns, while trying to augment depleted organs’ energy.  Since acupuncture aims at restoring energy level to the organism as a whole, and reestablishes homeostasis by re-balancing energy distribution, not only pain/nausea will be reduced, an overall sense of well-being increases significantly.