Acupuncture which is the mostly widely used type of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a reliable treatment option for many health issues. It has found its way into mainstream medicine due to its widely proven effectiveness and lack of adverse effect. The procedure is conducted by specially trained professionals. Thin needles are placed in specific points in the body and are electrically or manually stimulated. These stimulations are believed to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
The use of acupuncture in the treatment of physical pain is widely known. A little known use of acupuncture is in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are the most commonly faced mental health problems in the world. Often times the use of medications are not helpful and are accompanied by adverse effects. The use of acupuncture in the treatment of anxiety and depression has proven to be beneficial as well as providing adverse effect -free treatment option.
In the treatment of anxiety and depression, acupuncture has been shown to lead to an increase in the concentrations of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and other active substances in the body. Researches are still being conducted to discover new ways by which acupuncture can be used. The mechanisms of how it works are not fully understood, but researches are ongoing to shed more light on this area.
Research has shown that acupuncture is more effective than fluoxetine (Prozac) in reducing the symptoms that are seen in patients suffering from depression. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine where electro acupuncture was used to treat patients showed that the levels of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) were increased. This is a neuro protective protein that has been found to be lower in patients with major depressive disorder. Treatment with antidepressants lead to an increase in this neuroprotective protein.
Another study suggests that treating patients with acupuncture may be used to treat the sexual side effects of some medications. Both men and women experienced and increase in sexual functioning after being treated for 12 weeks according to the work published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine.
Most patients that are suffering from anxiety and depression have been treated at some point with acupuncture. Patients are energized and relaxed after being treated using acupuncture. The needles are virtually painless and are even used in the treatment of chronic pain. Patients that have undergone this treatment describe the experience as calming or meditative. Some other patients receive a new sense of balance and have their moods completely uplifted.
This technique when used alongside other treatment options such as medications and counseling appear to have a synergistic effect on patients. When treating depression with the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), acupuncture has proven to increase the effectiveness of the therapy.
The quality of life of patients suffering from anxiety and depression is remarkably improved by acupuncture. Following the relief of symptoms associated with depression such as insomnia and loss of appetite, patients have been noticed to have better lives after treatment.