Stress is ubiquitous in modern life. From buzzing alarm clocks to rushed dinners on the way to evening activities, it can be tough to simply relax and recharge. Fortunately, acupuncture can help. Grounded in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture takes a holistic approach to wellness, helping to bring the body and mind into optimal alignment.
What Is Acupuncture?
Eastern medicine focuses on Qi, the essential life force that flows through all living things. Stressors cause the flow of Qi to become blocked, causing both physical and mental ailments. Acupuncture’s small, painless needles are carefully placed to open up the pathways and unblock Qi.
Western medicine does not recognize the concept of Qi. However, a large body of Western scientific research demonstrates acupuncture’s remarkable healing powers. It is believed that acupuncture works by stimulating specific regions of the brain that induce relaxation and healing. In addition, the microtraumas caused by the needle insertion jump-start the natural immune responses.
Regardless of exactly why or how it works, though, acupuncture has gained respect among the Western medical community. It is accepted as a valid treatment for many illnesses by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Acupuncture is often used in tandem with Western medications for a more complete treatment protocol.
Chronic stress often leads to depression, and acupuncture can help. In fact, scientific studies have shown that acupuncture can be just as effective in fighting depression as leading antidepressants. Acupuncture has no side effects, a factor that can cause people to quit taking antidepressants, and is considered safe for virtually everyone.
Chinese herbal remedies such as St. John’s wort can also assist those who are suffering from depression. However, these herbs do sometimes carry side effects and can interact with certain medications.
Never stop taking any medication or add any herbal remedy without your doctor’s approval. If your doctor approves, though, acupuncture with or without Chinese herbs can be a powerful tool in the fight against depression.
Like depression, anxiety is a common result of persistent stress. Traditional Western medications are powerful, but can take time to build up in the body and find the perfect dosage. Just one session of acupuncture can provide instant short-term relief, while ongoing treatments can help to beat the anxiety for good.
For many people who live with anxiety, a fear of fear starts to develop. You might worry that you will have a panic attack, and begin to reshape your life in an effort to avoid your anxiety triggers. The rebalancing effect that acupuncture has on the chemicals in the brain can actually short-circuit this learned response, promoting a deep relaxation that can help you live life to the fullest.
Chinese herbs can help reduce anxiety as well. Of course, it is important to check with your Western physician before stopping any medication or adding any herbal remedy. Together, though, your acupuncturist and your doctor can build a fully integrated treatment plan to reduce stress and help you beat depression and anxiety.
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-428-1215 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.