Over the last twenty years or so, the problem of population wide depression has come out of the closet. Acupuncture treatment for depression is also gaining new notoriety.
Acupuncture Treatment for Depression
In many ways, acupuncture is a very logical choice for the treatment of depression. The reason for this is that depression is a very poorly understood concept in Western Medicine. The reasons for it are only partially understood and much of the treatment for it is really based on guesswork. In Western Medicine, depression is usually treated with a variety of mood altering medications. This is a very good example of the “treat the results and not the cause” approach of Western Medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a much more holistic approach to treatment. This has led to the identification of several different causes for depression. As with most other medical conditions, depression is seen as a disharmony in the natural order of the body. The flow of qi or vital energy is often blocked or is pooling and growing stagnant. The same type of external stress is most likely present, but the Traditional Chinese approach looks at how these stresses are impacting the internal harmony of the body.
This type of diagnosis approach to the cause of the depression and its link to the internal disharmony suggests the proper acupuncture body points that need to be addressed to deal with the condition. A complete physical examination of the patient will often give vital clues as to which of the several depression disharmonies is present. Since the culprit can be either an excess of qi which has led to stagnation, or a deficiency of qi, this physical examination is very important.
The actual acupuncture treatments have had a great deal of success in the clinical treatment of depression. The best results have come when the acupuncture treatment is combined with the application of herbal treatments also. Skeptics of acupuncture see the herbal treatments as having a similar effect as the chemical treatments in Western style medicine. They also feel that the treatments have a placebo effect since depression is seen as a mental disorder more than a physical one.
When the literature concerning the causes and treatment of depression is examined, the difference in Western medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine comes into very clear focus. It is easy to see that the Chinese approach is based on a very long background of dealing with depression and viewing it as one of the fundamental disharmonies of the body. Western medicine is just now beginning an investigation of this condition and they are just now starting to understand it.