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How Acupuncture can help with Anxiety, Panic, Depression


…and other mental health issues A recent survey has said that Anxiety levels (in the US) are three times higher than they were a year ago. I believe this is a worldwide trend stemming from increased socioeconomic pressures and driven through the roof by the Covid pandemic. People are afraid of getting sick, worried about loved ones, job security, whether life will ever return to normal. I am confident that life will return to normal. It’s up to each of us to help one another weather the storm until it passes. Previous to this survey, it was generally accepted that up to 7% of the population are affected by anxiety disorders and a staggering 29% of people will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Anxiety can affect anyone, at any age. While there are many ways to tackle anxiety, acupuncture is gaining increasing recognition for its effectiveness. A study in 2015, found that acupuncture improved symptoms in people with anxiety that didn’t respond to other treatments, including psychotherapy and medication. Participants received ten 30-minute sessions of acupuncture over the course of 12 weeks. They experienced a significant reduction in their anxiety, even 10 weeks after treatment. (from psycologytoday .com) To understand how acupuncture helps anxiety, stress, panic and depression involves delving into Traditional Chinese Medicine. At it’s core, TCM is about balance and the interactions within the body on both a physical and mental level. When a person feels healthy the interactions are normal and they are at ease. Physical, mental unrest and disease come about when the balance is tipped, and the interactions become abnormal. One such balance is that between the mind (Shen of the Heart) and the ethereal soul (Hun of the Liver) The soul rises with plans, dreams creativity and ambition. The mind balances this with rational or beliefs. If either element is too strong or too weak then mental disturbance can result. If the soul is suppressed, a person might have difficulty in looking forward, lacking aims, plans, creativity. If the mind is suppressed then a person might be full of ideas and plans but has difficulty in turning the ambitions into reality. Both sides of the balance can lead to stress and depression. Supplementing this balance is a person’s willpower (Zhi of kidneys) which provides drive. The emotion related to the Kidney is Fear. Low energy in the kidney pathway can make a person fearful and equally, fearful events like the current times, can drag down the kidney energy. This subduing of this energy leads to the person having difficulty dealing with fearful thoughts and difficulty in moving forward – a mix of anxiety and depression. Worry (and over thinking) is the emotion linked to the Spleen’s energy. The Spleen and Stomach are paired organs which transform what we eat into Qi, Blood and bodily substances. When we worry too much we consume the Spleens energy. Once the Spleen’s energy is low we need to take care of it or worry becomes a daily issue. The normal nourishing of the whole body becomes affected, willpower and drive reduce and the balance between mind and soul tips – a mix of anxiety, depression and often insomnia. So how does Acupuncture help here? Pathways of energy (qi), often following alongside nerves, blood or lymph vessels, are linked to organs, and emotions. Acupuncture uses specific points along these pathways to redress the balance within the body, allowing it to return to it’s natural balanced state. What’s more, acupuncture does not interact with medications so it is safe to get acupuncture even if taking medications. Most patients notice the change happening during treatment, others notice a shift towards well being over the few days following each treatment. After an initial course of treatment, monthly Acupuncture treatments work almost like taking vitamins – helping keep the body and mind in it’s balanced, healthy state. It’s all about getting the balance right. If this article raises any issues or I can be of any help then please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare and on 0864059898 or at rory@roryryanacupuncture.ie

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