Mental health awareness is on the rise, and for good reason. Issues like anxiety, depression, stress, and PTSD are increasingly common and many people are looking for solutions to improve their emotional health.
Unfortunately, there are few “quick-fixes” for improving our mental health. Some may resort to self-medicating with alcohol or addictive activities, others spend months or years searching for the right pharmaceutical cocktail to help treat their emotional imbalance (and suffer the side-effects).
The good news is that there are many ways to improve your mental health with natural therapies like acupuncture and lifestyle change. Chinese medicine has a unique approach when working with emotional health and stress reduction. Treatments are patient-centric with a strong focus on balance. Combining Chinese medicine and acupuncture can help stabilize emotions and balance your life.
Chinese Medicine and Emotional Health
Chinese medicine takes a holistic view of both the emotional and physical body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ has an associated emotion that can be in or out of balance example: the Heart corresponds with joy, the Liver with anger, the Spleen with worry, the Lung with grief/sadness, and the Kidney with fear.
It is natural to experience all human emotions. When emotions fall out of balance mental and physical health concerns can arise. Unbalanced emotions can have a deep impact on our physical health, and physical conditions can likewise affect our emotional health. This phenomenon is due to the deep connection between mind and body in Chinese medicine.
For instance, we may develop a tendency towards worry (anxiety) or a lack of joy (depression). We might fall into a pattern of quick anger or actively repress our emotions. As the pattern becomes more complex, these emotions start to affect the associated organ systems and cause physical issues. Chronic depression can lead to fatigue or body pain. Anger can cause changes in blood pressure, headaches, or vision issues. Anxiety may cause heart palpitations, ulcers, or insomnia.
Chinese medicine dives deeper to understand why we are experiencing our unique struggles. The treatment of emotional imbalance is unique to each person. With Chinese medicine, we work to re-establish balance, address any related physical pain or issues, and encourage your body and mind to restore harmony by customizing healing plans. Custom treatment plans includes acupuncture, chinese herbs, nutrition, diet plans, sleep patterns, movement exercises, breathing exercises and meditation.
Chinese Medicine and Chronic Stress
Today, stress is a part of life. The challenges of modern include overwhelming work schedules, stressful social commitments, financial or relationship issues. Even daily challenges such as traffic or a missed phone call can become triggers for a stress response.
While stress has become quite common and to some extent even expected in our daily lives, continuous stress can lead to major health concerns including mental health and longevity.
Increased stress will stimulate the production of cortisol, a hormone that helps you stay in “fight-or-flight” mode. This is excellent news if you are, indeed, needing to escape, think quickly, run, fight, or take charge. However, we are rarely in situations of real danger when our bodies are reacting to our modern daily stressors. Cortisol is pumping through our bodies as we are simply delayed in line for coffee, while reading emails, or anticipating an afternoon meeting. This constant flood of cortisol keeps our brain in a “stressed-out” state and starts to affect our physical bodies too. Our hormones are out of balance. As a result we gain weight, our immune system is weakened, our sleep is distrubed, and we develop additional health issues like hypertension, migraines, infertility, or pain.
Our best defense against continuous stress is in our own hands. The key to living a healthy, happy life to reduce the stress triggers, and develop resilience. Along with acupuncture and chinese medicine lifestyle changes such as meditation, exercise, proper nutrition, and having fun are important to reduce stress.
How Acupuncture Can Help
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help improve the mind-body connection. Emotional and physical pain are intricately linked, and acupuncture helps to gently, yet effectively release tension, encourage balance, and foster healthy connection.
Acupuncture helps to improve emotional health and reduce stress in several ways. According to biomedical research, acupuncture reduces cortisol, increases endorphins and releases neurotransmitters. This in-turn decreases the overall Heart Rate Variability (changes in heart rate due to stress) and creates a “feel good” response. These findings indicate that acupuncture can calm the mind, reduce stress and balance the physiological reactions.
- Acupuncture and Anxiety:
- Acupuncture relieve anxiety by regulating the flow of qi and blood throughout the body. This reduces the body’s physical reactions by regulating the heart rate, smoothing the breathing and easing tension. Over time, regular acupuncture treatments will reduce the intensity and frequency of anxiety attacks.
- Acupuncture and Depression:
- Depression can be a symptom of stagnation or deficiency in the body. Acupuncture increases the free flow of energy and brings emotional balance. Chinese herbs can tonify qi or blood deficiency resulting in happier moods. Acupuncture increases the release of endorphins which improves mood. Consistent acupuncture treatments are impotant to regulate hormones, improve mood, and lift the weight of depression.
- Acupuncture and PTSD:
- PTSD is estimated to affect over 24 million people in the US. This condition can cause anxiety, fear, insomnia, depression, and can negatively impact the quality of life.. Consistent acupuncture treatments release the buried trauma which enables individuals to take care of their mental and emotional well being.