Traditional Chinese Medicine Depression Treatment

Are you considering using Traditional Chinese Medicine depression treatment?

How does it work, and is TCM effective?

According to TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, the cause of depression involves blood deficiency or stagnating energy at the liver/spleen and heart channels.

In addition to blood deficiency, the other reasons associated with psychiatric problems including depression are the accumulation of dampness in certain areas and also internal wind.

Hence, it is important to release the blocked 'qi' or energy at the liver/spleen and heart levels and also to ensure there is no accumulation of dampness or internal wind in the human body.

What is referred to as 'blood deficiency' is in essence deficiency of neurotransmitters or blockage of neurotransmitters from remaining in balance. Neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and nor-epinephrine are found to be deficient in depressed persons. In addition to this, if other hormones like cortisol are not in balance, it can result in several psychological conditions. Therefore, Traditional Chinese Medicine addresses depression by engaging in increasing the levels of neurotransmitters that are deficient and also releasing blocked energies at the heart and liver/spleen areas.

Traditional Chinese Medicine depression treatment mostly entails using natural healing techniques of acupuncture and/or herbal medications. In some cases, people suffering from depression who have been on SSRI medication for extended periods of time can also consider switching to TCM, perhaps after seeking approval from their primary care physician and/or psychiatrist.

Some herbal remedies used in Traditional Chinese Medicine depression treatment that contribute towards improving the 'blood deficiency' include white atractylodes, white peony, astragalus, ginseng, zizyphus, and pinellia. While atractylodes and pinellia resolve dampness, ginseng and astragalus work on improving the blood deficiency, and white peony and zizyphus nourish the liver and heart.

In addition to the above, herbs like St John's wort and gingko biloba are considered to be extremely effective in treating depression without any side effects.

Acupuncture too is gaining tremendous popularity across the globe, since more and more people are finding it effective in treating depression. Several scientific studies conducted by various groups clearly indicate that through acupuncture, it is possible to increase the levels of key neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which can then help relieve depression, since the levels of these chemicals are low in depressed persons.

While serious forms of depression like bipolar disorder and/or schizophrenia might not be controlled through acupuncture, mild-to-moderate forms of depression like postnatal depression, SAD or seasonal affective disorder, and depression associated with menopause could be treated with acupuncture.

Another interesting point that needs to be highlighted is that there are very little or negligible side effects to acupuncture when compared to pharmacological treatment of depression. Some of the side effects of acupuncture include general malaise or weakness, mild itching in the area where acupuncture was carried out, worsening of some symptoms related to depression, and lethargy.

It is advisable to consult one's primary care physician or psychiatrist prior to commencing on acupuncture and/or herbal remedies for depression.

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