About Depression

Depression is a national mood killer, more prevalent in women than men (especially adolescents), which affects up to 10 percent of the adult population each year. Mild depression comes and goes and is characterized by downheartedness, sadness, and dejection, which can occur with hormone changes, including pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or shortly after the birth of a baby (postpartum). Although many cases are shortly lived and temporary, severe depression can result in life threatening consequences that go way beyond losing a job or a loved one.

The symptoms are disturbed thought processes, poor communication and socialization, reluctance to speak, susceptibility to sadness and weeping, palpitation, and insomnia, and sensory dysfunction; even without expression, indifferent toward their surroundings and delusion in the severe cases.

View of TCM

In the view of TCM, the depression are understood to be caused by abnormal emotions leading to the stagnation of liver qi, while in healthy person the qi within the body is flowing smoothly. Some lifestyle habits may contribute to this: lack of exercise, poor dietary habits (especially fried foods a/or alcohol) and repressed or overly expressed emotions (especially anger and/or grief).

Because liver control the movement of qi of the whole body, as a result the heart, spleen or kidney may also be affected by liver qi stagnation. Weaknesses in the spleen, heart and kidney may lead to fatigue, indigestion, insomnia, restlessness and mind problem, such as muddling the thinking.

Treatment of TCM

Although the effective depression treatment is available, increasing numbers of people are interested in complementary and alternative treatments for depression. Unfortunately, medicines only deal with the signs and symptoms of depression and also cause a variety of side effects: insomnia, anxiety, listlessness, fatigue, rash, tremors, facial tics, diarrhea, loss of appetite and sexual dysfunction.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been hailed for being an effective treatment by the Food and Drug Administration, and about 9 million received acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs treatment in 2003. New research suggests that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for healing depression.

In Chinese medicine, liver is associated with emotional state and digestion. Qi is blocked in depression. Acupuncture may eliminate the blockage to treat depression. It is known that acupuncture may help to treat the nervous system by releasing the chemicals (called “endorphin”). The release of endorphins is directly parallel to the treatment of depression. Also acupuncture has been shown to reduce the side effects of depression medicines.