Acupuncture for Depression
As we grow nearer to the season of yīn within yīn, the darker winter months, some people are looking forward to the festivities of the holiday season, while others feel the sense that their seasonal depression is looming around the corner. Of course, depression (yù zhèng 郁証) can occur during any time of the year, not just during the winter months, although it may be exacerbated during this time of year. A major depression affects between 11-16% of Canadians throughout the course of their lives. It can limit the quality of one's life by affecting their relationships, causing them to loose interest in hobbies, creating difficulty working, resulting in sleep disorders, loss of energy, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, having difficulty concentrating, and more. In Chinese medicine the basic presentation of depression is Liver qì stagnation, meaning a lack of flow of Liver qì either due to repressed emotions which does not allow the qì to flow smoothly or due to an underlying deficiency of the yīn aspect of the Liver which does not allow the yáng aspect to flow smoothly. The Liver (Gān 肝) functions to ensure the free flow of qì (氣) throughout the entire body, and when it fails or is hindered from performing this function, the flow of qì becomes stagnated or constrained. This includes promoting the free flow of emotions, which are movements of qì. The Spirit of the Liver, known as the Ethereal Soul (Hún 魂), is responsible for the ability to make plans and have a sense of direction in life. When the Liver feels constrained by a lack of free flow, this capacity to have a vision for one's life is diminished, resulting in depression, feelings of aimlessness, a lack of purpose in life, a lack of passion for doing projects or having dreams about the future, and feelings of irritability. Many acupuncture points and Chinese herbs have the action of promoting and soothing the flow of Liver qì and calming the spirit. If depression is something you or a loved one experience, consider trying acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. This is a great time of year to get a head start on treating seasonal depression because keeping ahead of pain, whether it is back pain or mental-emotional pain, is always ideal.
Wishing you all a happy and harmonious shift into the darker days of the year!
Painting: Flowers and Butterflies 清 傳馬荃 花蝶圖 卷 attributed to Ma Quan, Qing dynasty
Disclaimer: Any information on this website or blog post should not be used for self-diagnosis or substitute for medical advice. Please always seek advice from a qualitied health practitioner for any health concerns.