Chinese Medicine for Depression and Anxiety
TCM Herbs and Acupuncture for Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
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Causes of Depression and Anxiety: Most of us see depression and anxiety as brain problems caused by abnormal brain chemistry. Pharmaceutical drugs are used to alter the brain’s chemistry, creating the feeling of normalcy. Traditional Chinese medicine understands depression and anxiety as problems caused by constraint of emotion in the chest. We believe that changes in brain chemistry are secondary to and in some cases a consequence of this emotional constraint. Chinese Herbs for Depression and Anxiety help to create emotional space in the chest.
Herbs for Depression and Constraint of Chest Energy
Loss, the memory of loss, repressed expression, and other events will cause constraint in the chest, restraining the normal flows of qi and blood in the central and upper body. We call this liver qi stagnation.
This constraint of chest energy can also lead to heat in the heart, a condition of overstimulation with symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. Even some more serious conditions such as panic attacks, heart arrhythmias, and even some forms of psychosis have their origins in liver qi stagnation.
To Treat Liver Qi Stagnation: Vigorously Move the Qi of The Chest.
Though drugs are effective in relieving depression, relief can also be obtained by physically freeing the qi of the chest and releasing this energy. Push-ups work as well as Prozac.
Other ways to release the chest include boxing, breathing exercises and yogic techniques, massage, forceful crying and wailing, and almost any upper body exercise. Results are instantaneous and can last for hours or days.
Herbs for Depression and Anxiety
Chinese herbs for depression and anxiety all move the liver qi (qi of the chest ). Taken alone, these herbs may exert only a mild effect. In certain combinations, however, the results can be quite powerful.
Chai hu, or bupleurum, is the best known of these herbs. Though it is classified as a surface relieving herb, which might be used for colds, etc., its most common use by far, is to move the qi of the chest (the liver qi). Its ability to do this is greatly enhanced by combining it with a small amount of mint (bo he).
He huan pi or he huan hua, mimosa bark or flower (albezzia) is classified as a heart nourishing herb. When combined with DAN SHEN (salvia miltorrhiza), it strongly moves the qi of the chest.
Other herbs used in these formulas include poria (fu shen), red dates (hong zao), and wheat berries (fu xiao mai). Oyster shell (mu li), fossil bone (long gu), amber (hu po), and loadstone (ci shi) are considered strong stabilizing agents, and are administered for limited periods of time to stabilize the spirit.
Chinese Medicine for Depression and Anxiety
Free and Easy Pill (also known as xiao yao wan)
When under stress, qi (energy) tightens in your chest. This protective reaction is triggered by events in our life or events in our memory.
Free & Easy Pill reduces feelings of stress by helping to release tension in the chest. Based on a 900-year-old formula, It uses bupleurum (CHAI HU) and other natural substances to relieve chest constraint and to promote the free flow of Qi in the chest.
Other Herbs for Symptoms of Depression, Stress, and Anxiety Include
Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan
Smiling Buddha Powder
Other ways to release stress in the chest include breathing and yogic techniques, massage, forceful crying, and upper body exercise. Expressive use of the hands stimulates the channels that nourish the chest, so that activities, as varied as gardening, giving a massage, swimming the breaststroke, and playing basketball, can offer relief.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR DEPRESSION
ACUPUNCTURE FOR DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, AND STRESS
Studies have suggested that treating depression with acupuncture has a positive effect on depressed patients, particularly when used in combination with psychotherapy and herbal treatments.
Psychologist John Allen, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and Acupuncturist Rosa Schnyer, conducted the very first pilot controlled study on treating depression symptoms with acupuncture in the West. In a double blind randomized study, 34 depressed female patients who met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria were assigned to one of three treatment groups for eight weeks.
The first group received acupuncture treatment tailored to their symptoms. The second group received a general acupuncture treatment not specific to depression, and the third group was placed on a waiting list for acupuncture treatment, but received no treatment.
The study found that those in the tailored acupuncture treatment experienced a significant reduction in symptoms, compared to those in the non-specific treatment. Moreover, after the study, over half of the participants no longer met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for depression.
The findings suggest that using acupuncture could be as effective as other types of treatments for relieving depression symptoms such as psychotherapy and drugs. While these results are promising and the United Nations World Health Organization has approved acupuncture as a treatment for depression, further clinical trials with larger samples are deemed necessary to endorse this new hope for relief.
Allen, J. J. B. (2000). Depression and acupuncture: a controlled clinical trial. Psychiatric Times Online, 22, 3.
Tian, C. H. (2002). Acupuncture treatment for depression. New England Journal of Traditional Medicine, 1, 4-7.