The stress had limited every aspect of my life and became unbearable for many years. I found it extremely difficult to function on the simplest of levels. In addition, I was unable to sleep on countless nights. I had recently researched Chinese medicine and found Dr. Luo. I went and visited Dr. Luo and immediately felt the effects of his treatments. The same night I received my first treatment I had the best sleep I could have ever imagined. After several treatments my stress began to diminish and I found myself becoming more comfortable in describing how I feel. I strongly, highly, and deeply recommend consulting Dr.Luo and allowing him to help anyone who is in need. I am very thankful for everything Dr. Luo has done for me. With all of my sincerity, he has helped me beyond belief. Thank you Dr. Luo for everything!
Treating Depression with Acupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine
According to data, depression ranks first among the 15 most occurring diseases. If you are suffering from depression you are not alone. If treated properly, it is possible to tackle what the World Health Organization considers the most destructive and formidable disease.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has recognized the impact of psychological factors on human health for over two thousand years. According to its theory, a person's mental and emotional activities are closely related to the functions of the five internal organs: heart, liver, spleen, lung, and kidney. On one hand the emotional reaction is a manifestation of the organs' physiological functions. On the other hand, the mental and emotional activities are based on internal organ functions. Under normal circumstances, all emotional activities are human psychological reactions of external surroundings. The internal organs produce a series of physiological changes to adapt to these surroundings in order to maintain a dynamic balance. When the mental or emotional activities exceed normal levels, it will lead to organ dysfunction and disease. This relationship between the emotional activities and the internal organs is one of the most interesting theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine. More specifically, the liver relates to anger, the heart to joy, the spleen to pensiveness, the lung to anxiety, and the kidney to fright. In fact, internal organs not only coordinate with each other physiologically, but they also influence each other pathologically. The causes for mental or emotional diseases are no exception.
Traditional Chinese Medicine's treatment for depression is to build on the relationship between emotional activities and the five internal organs. According to TCM theory, the most closely related organ to depression is the liver. This is because the liver clears and defuses the Qi and the blood in the body and it promotes the excretion of the body's waste. TCM describes this as “Dispersing and Discharging Functions of the Liver.” If this liver function is normal, the activity of the Qi will be smooth, the emotional life happy, the mind at ease, the Qi and blood harmonious, and the five internal organs in coordination. Conversely, if it is not, the functional activity of the Qi will be imbalanced. Abnormality of the mental and emotional activities may result in the following two aspects: First, when the function of the liver in conducting and dispersing is weakened, it will result in stagnation of the functional activity of Qi in the body. Simultaneously, this is accompanied by such symptoms such as emotional depression, unhappiness, moodiness, excessive worry, belching, and sentimental sighing. This is known as “stagnation of liver- Qi ”. Second, persistent and repeated harmful stimulations can actually lead to pathological changes of stagnation of liver- Qi , or Qi stagnation and blood stasis.
TCM theory believes that depression is generally due to “Seven Emotions Internal Damage” (Seven kinds of emotional reactions are namely joy, anger, anxiety, worry, grief, apprehension, and fright) and excessive liver stasis, which lead to a series of ill emotions and blocking of the Qi among other changes. The main source of this illness is the liver, while the heart, spleen, and kidney are also involved. Due to different levels of side effects produced by western medicine, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture play a good role in treating depression. Chinese herbal medicine has the following therapeutic effects: “Liver-Coursing and Spleen-Rectifying”, “Moving the Qi to Reduce the Depression”, “Refreshing the Heart and Tranquilizing the Spirit”, and “Nourishing the Liver and Kidney”. These effects help to adjust the five internal organs and to balance the Yin and Yang. Additionally, Chinese herbal medicine can reduce the side effects of western medicine, such as dry mouth, constipation, difficulty urinating, blurred vision, dizziness, and nausea. Clinically, Chinese herbal medicine can be taken in conjunction with Western antidepressants . In fact, many patients suffering from depression seek the help of Chinese herbal medicine to counter the antidepressant's side effects. In particular, patients suffering from serious depression can better accept and adhere to antidepressants after taking Chinese herbal medicine. Finally, in the process of taking Chinese herbal medicines, antidepressants can be gradually reduced to a complete cessation.
For treatment of depression using acupuncture, TCM meridian theory shows 14 major meridians, each consisting of different numbers of acupoints, distributed over the body surface. These numerous acupoints are not isolated points of the body surface, but are connected with the internal organs. Acupuncture can utilize the acupoints to adjust the function of the internal organs to achieve therapeutic purposes. For depression, the illness is closely related with internal organs (especially the liver) dysfunctions. Acupuncture is a two-way stimulation. In other words, to achieve a balance, acupuncture can excite the overly inhibited organ functions, but it also can suppress the overly excited organ functions. Modern studies have confirmed that acupuncture can adjust the balance within the body environment , enhance leukocyte phagocytosis, enhance the function of monocyte-macrophage cells, improve the content of the globulin, and complement titer, thereby enhancing the body's immunity. Additionally, acupuncture can regulate the body's neuroendocrine function. In clinical practice, certain patients have no obvious improvements in their thinking ability, fatigue, and pain after taking antidepressants. Other patients experienced symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, tremor, and other side effects. Long-term use of antidepressants can cause the body's intolerance to the drug and therefore weaken its efficacy. Acupuncture's treatment of depression takes advantage of its holistic approach and non-toxic side effects, which can quickly ease the main symptoms of depression. Adjustments made by acupuncture to improve the body's movements, digestion, diet, sleep, and other systems can also be used as a good long-term treatment.
Studies have shown that acupuncture treatment alone has the same effect as Chinese herbal medicine treatment alone. However, the combination of both treatments significantly improves the result.
The following are some case examples of patients Dr. Luo has treated for depression.
Example 1. 62 year-old male, newly diagnosed in July 2005 .
Chief Complaint: Patient suffered from depression for two years prior to treatment. There was long-term use of antidepressants with no significant improvement. Patient experienced frequent depression and anxiety for the past six months. He is a practicing attorney who often felt unable to concentrate, therefore experienced decreased work efficiency. He was forced to substantially reduce his workload. Shortly before his treatment, the patient experienced problems with his family life, insomnia, and occasional headaches.
Examination: Checked tongue and pulse , TCM defines his condition as “Deficiency in the Liver and Kidney Yin.”
Diagnosis: Patient suffered from general anxiety and depression.
Treatment and Result: Acupuncture treatment primarily on the selected acupoints on the liver, kidney, and spleen meridians twice a week. Additional acupuncture applied to related acupoints in the head and four extremities. Patient also took Chinese herbal tea twice a day to nourish the Yin for ten days. He was encouraged to continue physical activities three times a week. After two months of treatment, patient experienced improvement in his anxiety, headaches, and insomnia. Dosage of antidepressant was gradually reduced, while he still adhered to the twice-weekly acupuncture treatment . A different Chinese herbal tea was prescribed to regulate the function between the liver and the spleen and to tonify the Yin. Seven months into treatment, the patient completely discontinued his antidepressant doses and continued his acupuncture and Chinese herbal tea treatments intermittently. Currently, he has resumed his work full time. Additionally, he is experiencing a harmonious family life and stable emotions. The patient continues to boat and exercise twice weekly.
Example 2. 52 year-old female, newly diagnosed in April 2011 .
Chief Complaint: The patient has suffered from depression and occasional anxiety for several years prior to treatment. One year prior to treatment, she experienced weight gain of 20 pounds due to overeating. Her conditions frequently lead to fatigue and loss of memory, which creates great amount of emotional distress in her job as a chef.
Examination: Checked tongue and pulse. Patient's mental conditions were generally good with slightly weary facial expressions. She has stopped menstruating for the past three years. TCM defines her condition as “Stagnation of the Liver Qi ” and “Stomach and Spleen Imbalance.”
Diagnosis: Patient suffered from depression (not excluding menopausal depression).
Treatment and Result: Acupuncture treatment on selected acupoints on the head, liver, and spleen meridians twice a week. Patient also took Chinese herbal tea twice a day to cleanse the liver. Four months into treatment, her depression and anxiety substantially improved. She experienced restored memory, which resulted in smoother working environment. Additionally, the patient had a weight loss of eight pounds.
Example 3. 54 year-old male, newly diagnosed in July 2011.
Chief Complaint: Six months prior to treatment, the patient had persistent low moods. Due to the complexity and great responsibility of his work, he often felt pressured and fatigued. Additionally, he is easily vulnerable to feelings of anxiety and anger. There were frequent disputes between the spouses. Patient's psychiatrist had recommended acupuncture treatment.
Examination: Checked tongue and pulse. Patient had melancholy facial expressions and spoke very few words. TCM defines his condition as “Deficiency of the Liver and Kidney Yin.”
Diagnosis: Patient suffered from intense depression.
Treatment and Result: Acupuncture treatment primarily on selected acupoints on the liver, kidney, and spleen meridians twice a week. Additional acupuncture applied to the related acupoints on the head, back and extremities. Patient also took Chinese herbal tea to “Nourish the Liver and Kidney Yin ” twice a day, with one day break after each ten-day cycle. He was encouraged to participate in outdoor activities for at least 30 minutes daily. Two months into treatment , his anxiety and irritability greatly eased. A cupuncture treatment was changed to once weekly, and he continued to take Chinese herbal tea. Six months into treatment, his mood returned to normal and his relationship with his wife greatly improved. The patient still continues his acupuncture and Chinese herbal tea treatments intermittently.
More doctors are beginning to recommend that their patients consider acupuncture treatment for depression. In a pilot study at the University of Arizona researchers concluded that acupuncture is a very reliable and promising treatment for major depression in women. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine is free of harmful chemicals and negative side effects. With methods like acupuncture one can get to the psychological root of the problem and treat the depression permanently.
For more information regarding Treating Depression with Acupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine, please contact Eastern Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic, Treating Depression with Acupuncture Atlanta Office (404)255-2558 or Treating Depression with Acupuncture Canton Office (770)720-1398. Because Dr. Luo is dedicated to his patients' health and well being, many view their visit to Dr. Luo as a special occasion.