According to Medical News Today, anxiety disorders affect 40 million people in the United States (U.S.). It is the most common group of mental illnesses in the country. However, only about one third of sufferers receive treatment. While medication and counseling can be effective therapies, an ancient form a care has shown great promise.
Reuters health reported on a study from the University of York in the UK. The study recruited 755 people with moderate to severe depression. Seventy percent of the patients had been on anti-depressants and continued on them throughout the study. The study concluded that both acupuncture and counseling (or both) had a strongly positive effect on depression, lowering the depression scale from an average of 16 out of 27 at the start of the study, to 9 for acupuncture and 11 for counseling at its conclusion. The benefits lasted 3 months after treatment had concluded.
One of my long time patients, I’ll call him Sam to protect his privacy, came to me a few years ago for chiropractic treatment for chronic neck pain. During our visit, he asked if there were any supplements he could take to help his anxiety and depression. I explained that there are certain botanicals that have been of benefit―however, I explained that they would be treating symptoms rather than attempting to balance his nervous system (I do want to stress that I encouraged Sam to seek professional counseling as well to help reconcile any underlying emotional issues).
Sam was very skeptical when I mentioned acupuncture. He asked me if I could provide him some more information about how acupuncture might work, which I happily furnished. As I continued to address his neck issues over time utilizing chiropractic, he would continue to ask me questions about acupuncture. Then on one visit, he told me he wanted like to try it.
After a few treatments, Sam said he noticed a difference regarding his emotional state. Here’s how he explained it:
“Before I started acupuncture, it was like I was standing in a room covered with graffiti on the walls. My mind was just out of control. Now I see the walls clearing. There is a new state of calm.”
Sam continued to see improvement and after a month of care, I told him to call me if his feelings returned. Every so often, Sam will come in to “retune” his mind. Acupuncture works by helping rewire the brain. Similar to what happens with a computer virus, our brain’s software can become corrupted by various life stresses. Stimulating specific points on the body reestablishes normal brain function, calming the mental storms that can arise. What’s really cool…studies have proven this using advanced medical imaging such as functional MRI.
The most important takeaway…there is hope. If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety and/or depression, acupuncture can be a safe and effective therapy. With virtually no side effects, it is certainly a worthwhile course of action. Please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you find that peace and calm we all desire.