Acupuncture is an ancient therapy that has been used in China for over 5000 years. Even today, it is successfully practiced in China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. In the United States, this therapy is used to relieve musculoskeletal pain, depression, and stress.
Depression is a state wherein the affected person feels low and has no enthusiasm or vigor to do things. The treatment of this condition involves the use of antidepressant drugs, which basically maintain the serotonin levels of the brain. However, they do not show long-term results and have to be consumed regularly. Many people are resorting to alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, for the treatment of this disorder.
▶ Basics of Acupuncture Therapy
Acupuncture therapy is based on the belief that all human beings possess energy, which is called “chi”. The chi flows throughout the body in a uniform manner, using the energy channels known as ‘meridians’.
◆ When a person is affected by a disease/ailment, it means that the “chi”(energy) is not able to flow properly and needs correction. For regulating the chi, needles are pricked on acupressure points in the body. The piercing and puncturing with needles helps restore the lost energy, thereby curing the ailments.
◆ Depression mainly occurs due to the imbalance in the neurotransmitters (i.e., serotonin and norepinephrine). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is released by neurons present in the nervous system. Its function is to regulate the mood and the sleeping patterns in a person. An imbalance in the level of these neurotransmitters results in disorders such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, migraine, and stress. Norepinephrine specifically affects the sympathetic system.
◆ Electroacupuncture is a technique which adds current to the needles, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the needles. Using electroacupuncture on particular points results in the release of the neurotransmitters from the central nervous system. This increased level of neurotransmitters reduces the imbalance, thereby alleviating the symptoms of depression.
► Benefits of Acupuncture
This alternative therapy has proved to be more effective than the use of antidepressants. Here are some of the benefits of this treatment:
◆ Unlike allopathy, acupuncture therapy treats the root cause of depression, which is the internal imbalance of the neurotransmitters.
◆ There are no side effects of using acupuncture therapy. However, the consumption of antidepressant drugs leads to side effects such as nausea, weight gain, nervousness, blurred vision, dry mouth, etc. The long-term usage of this class of drugs can be harmful.
◆ The benefits of acupuncture therapy are lifelong, so even when a person discontinues the therapy, he would not experience symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Acupuncture therapy is considered to be safe, as long as it is practiced by a licensed acupuncturist and the needles used are sterile. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has set certain standards for the needles to be used during this therapy, which must be adhered to. It has been recommended that the needles must be labeled and sealed properly to avoid tampering, contamination, and misuse.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.