I’m saddened this week by the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Even though I had no personal connection to either, I feel for their families and friends who loved them. I also have mental illness in my family, suffer from depression and anxiety myself and I’ve experienced trauma. I’ve found relief by using a combination of therapies, including EMDR, conventional talk therapy, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
One reason I love Chinese medicine so much is that it addresses the whole body. Allopathic or western medicine typically focuses on a body part – not the whole, with a goal of symptom relief. My job as an acupuncturist is to help my patients experience systemic healing as we work toward the goal of wellness. Healing is integrating. Don’t get me wrong, I want my patients to be relieved of pain, or sinus infections, or fatigue, or depression, but true healing is a process that involves the whole body and treatment over time. Symptom relief is great but is often times only the start of the process, and my job is to get to the root of the problem.
Getting to the root, when treating emotional disorders, starts with reconnecting the body and mind. Reconnecting the mind and body helps patients move toward integration and true healing – when patients are depressed or anxious their body and mind are disconnected. Acupuncture excels at re-creating this lost connection – when you are on the acupuncture table with needles in multiple parts of your body, the needles communicate with each other and with your body to move energy. You cannot help but feel those places where the needles are doing their work. The movement energy works to wake up areas that need stimulation as well as to quiet areas that are overstimulated. This whole process brings your body closer to balance – and each acupuncture session builds upon the last to create stronger and stronger connections where they are needed. Each session additionally may work to remove more and more blockages or quiet areas of overstimulation, if that is needed.
Chinese herbal medicine helps to reinforce the work begun by acupuncture treatment. Herbal formulas are balanced to reduce side effects and Chinese herbs are rich in minerals and nutrients. Chinese herbs are also directional – often times a formula is chosen because its focus is a specific part of the body or because it moves energy in a specific way that is currently moving incorrectly in the patient. Thus patients who are able to commit to herbal therapy often see faster and deeper results.
I have treated many patients who have mental illness – I see real differences in their mood and affect before and after acupuncture treatment. I also have experience treating conditions where western Medical doctors are unable to help the patient – one such condition is cyclic vomiting
. Acupuncture also helps with smoking cessation
and with processing traumatic experiences
. I’ve worked with patients who have a sudden traumatic experience which resulted in emotional distress, repetitive thoughts and lost sleep – after acupuncture treatment these symptoms disappeared, as the patient was able to release the effect of the trauma from the body and mind. Treatment for this trauma occurred soon after the event – for historical trauma the process is longer, but just as effective.
If you are looking for a more holistic approach to help your body and mind, we’re here to help. If you feel you need new options, or want to deepen your approach to caring for your body, acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a good fit for you. Schedule your appointment
with us here to start on your journey.