Depression affects an estimated 20% of the population at some point in their life. Because of its prevalence, many professionals such as acupuncturists consider depression to be the “common cold” of psychology. While there are effective medications for the treatment of depression, the possible side effects make considering a natural therapy such as acupuncture worthwhile.

Depression can feel like a form of extreme exhaustion. You want to get better, but just don’t feel like you have the energy to do so. While the symptoms of each individual vary, each case has a common thread: a poor state of mind that you can’t quite climb out of. Breaking out of this stuck place is the key to feeling better.

In Chinese Medicine, depression is considered a problem of constraint, called Yu. The primary Yin organ related to this condition is the Liver, with the Spleen and Heart playing secondary roles. The Liver is the energetic organ responsible for circulating the Qi, or vital energy, of the body. This impairment in the flow of Qi can affect all other physiological activities, such as digestion, sleep, and energy level. If this condition persists, additional stagnations of Heat, Phlegm, and Blood will occur, possibly leading to mania, mental cloudiness, and body pains, respectively. Over time, the secondary stagnations will spread to affect the Heart and Spleen creating additional symptoms, such as poor memory and fatigue.

Spokane Acupuncture treatment for depression will focus on circulating the Qi and balancing the flow of energy to relieve specific symptoms. The most common Qi circulating treatment is called The Four Gates. This treatment includes the use of Large Intestine 4 on the hand and Liver 3 on the foot, bilaterally. These two sets of points are located in similar anatomical positions on the body: LI4 in the fleshy web between the thumb and index finger, and Liv3 on top of the foot between the big toe and the second toe.  Additional balancing points may include Stomach 36 and Spleen 6; these points are useful to strengthen the digestion and improve the production of Qi in the body. Once your Qi is circulating properly and your energy levels are normalized, you can begin to have the strength to lift yourself back into the swing of life, leaving your depression behind.

Regardless of whether you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or some other emotional difficulty, making changes in your lifestyle can help balance your mind. The mind likes to attach to negative emotions and resists acceptance of new ideas. However, consider beginning a program of exercise to help circulate your own energy and studying a form of meditation to learn how to control and relax your mind. Activities such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Yoga are excellent forms of mind-body exercise that can improve your ability to control both anxiety and depression. Practicing these arts in conjunction with regular acupuncture treatments will provide the foundation for a positive change in your life.