A Look at Treating Anxiety and Depression with Acupuncture
Anne Louise Smallen, Lic. Ac.
Acupuncture is very good at helping us to function better by regulating our emotions. Like many, if you have trouble managing the wide range of challenging emotions we humans can have - anger, hatred, worry, fear, grief, anxiety, or depression - acupuncturists can help you. I would like to address how acupuncture can specifically help anxiety and depression in this short article. I also want to add that emotions have important roles in life and must be acknowledged. Managing does not mean eradicating or suffocating.
Anxiety and depression have been a concern for many people in these strange COVID times. Meeting new people has suddenly become a dangerous behavior. Before COVID, it was a healthy behavior, something that was encouraged. The dangers of the pandemic, the fear of contagion to our self and those we love, the financial difficulties of losing a job, these common concerns and experiences create a lot of anxiety. Also, the realization that being vaccinated has not ended the problem has created even more anxiety. It seems the pandemic has no end.
In Chinese Medicine, anxiety robs the Shen, this quality of the heart that allows us to shine though life. Call it magnetism or inner intelligence, when the Shen is healthy, we feel better and more comfortable in our skin. We sleep better, digest better and have more energy.
Depression is also a problem for many of the people we treat. The gifts of life and the future no longer hold hope. Depression dims the heart and the Shen and robs us of our zest for life. We just want to give up. Everything is hopeless.
Fortunately, for more than a thousand years, acupuncture has helped us regulate our emotions. Both Rachel and I treat it regularly, and from what we hear, it is helping.
Let me share some of my favorite points with you:
Hundred Meetings GV 20 the highest point on the head: it raises the qi, helping us come out of our doldrums.
Yintang (Calm Spirit) and Root of the Spirit (GB 13) on the forehead boost the Shen.
Three points on the chest: Great Gateway (CV 14), Turtle Dove Tail (CV 15) and Chest Center (CV17) harmonize the heart and help us get rid of those thoughts and feelings traumatizing us.
Palace of Heaven (LU 3) on the upper arm harmonizes the lungs and the liver; the first one processing grief and the second one processing anger.
At the crook of the elbow is Lesser Sea (HT 3) also called the happy point and it is the pink pair of glasses revealing there is hope in the future.
For good measure, I often add Leg Three Miles (ST 36) near the knee and Three Yin Intersection (SP 6) on the lower leg because they feed us as we go on with life.
Consider coming in for some acupuncture if you feel like you could use some extra support during these very challenging times. Moving your energy with acupuncture, like taking a walk or going for a run, can cause just the shift to help you look at things in a new way.