Psychology and Acupuncture

Psychology and Acupuncture – Going Hand in Hand! – Acupuncture is a powerful weapon against almost all conditions, including psychological ones. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, addictions, and other psychological disorders plague a high number of people in their daily lives and can be quite debilitating.

The good news is that acupuncture can provide an effective and natural solution to help relieve the symptoms of these conditions in a just a short amount of time.

Conventional methods of treating conditions such as depression, anxiety and others include the administration of strong antidepressants or antianxiety meds. Unfortunately, they oftentimes do not work, and if they do, there can be debilitating side effects, potential for overuse and dependency, and emotional numbness. Acupuncture has been shown to provide relief whether you are taking medications or not.

Exploring holistic methods of treatment, treating a person “as a whole”, may have the lasting effects that you are looking for. In holistic medicine, treating a person “as a whole” signifies a comprehensive approach to health and wellness.

Instead of just addressing specific symptoms or isolated diseases, holistic practitioners view the individual as an integrated system of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual components that all interact and influence one another. Incorporating this philosophy, as we do here in our Aventura clinic, can be profoundly transformative for patients seeking help.

Take a look at how acupuncture addresses some of the conditions we mentioned above…

Acupuncture and Depression

Depression, a leading cause of disability, can severely affect one’s quality of life. Acupuncture has shown promise in regulating the endocrine system, increasing the production of mood-regulating chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine. This results in improved mood and emotional well-being.

A study by MacPherson, H., et al. (2013) supported these claims, highlighting the potential of acupuncture in alleviating chronic pain and depression.

How does it work? The primary tenet of acupuncture in treating depression lies in its ability to balance the body’s qi (energy) flow. When energy flows without obstruction, it promotes emotional and physical well-being.

  • Neurotransmitter Regulation: Acupuncture can stimulate the nervous system, triggering the release of neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals play a vital role in mood regulation.
  • Endorphin Release: Acupuncture can also lead to the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which have a mood-lifting effect.
  • Stress Reduction: By reducing the levels of stress hormones like cortisol, acupuncture can alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Acupuncture and Anxiety

The mechanisms of acupuncture are believed to stimulate the nervous system, releasing neurochemical messenger molecules that balance the body’s life-force energy or “Qi”. This equilibrium significantly reduces anxiety symptoms.

A systematic review by Samuels, N., et al. (2018) showcased the efficacy of acupuncture in treating anxiety, further cementing its role as a valuable therapeutic option.

How does it work? The body’s response to anxiety is intrinsically linked to its sympathetic nervous system, often termed the “fight or flight” system.

  • Balancing Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Systems: Acupuncture can help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. While the former prepares the body for intense physical activity, the latter relaxes it. Achieving a balance can lead to reduced anxiety symptoms.
  • Neurochemical Stimulation: Acupuncture points, when stimulated, can release gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that diminishes anxiety by reducing neuron excitability.

Acupuncture and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

PTSD can be debilitating, with sufferers reliving traumatic events. Acupuncture regulates the body’s fight or flight response, stimulates the vagus nerve, and affects amygdala processing, leading to a calm mind. A pilot trial by Hollifield, M., et al. (2012) illustrated the potential benefits of acupuncture for PTSD patients.

How does it work? PTSD is characterized by recurring stress and heightened reactions even after the traumatic event has passed.

  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Acupuncture, especially auricular (ear) acupuncture, can stimulate the vagus nerve. This can lead to decreased arousal and reduced reactivity to traumatic triggers.
  • Amygdala Modulation: The amygdala plays a significant role in processing emotions and fear. Acupuncture can modulate its activity, thereby reducing the intensity of traumatic memories and fear responses.

Acupuncture and Addictions

Overcoming addictions can be a monumental challenge. Acupuncture can help by targeting specific points like Shen Men (ear) for calming effects and affecting the reward pathway in the brain, reducing cravings.

A study by Yoon, S.S., et al. (2013) revealed that acupuncture suppresses morphine self-administration through the GABA receptors, further emphasizing its potential in addiction treatments.

How does it work?

  • Endorphin Release: Acupuncture is known to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. These chemicals have a similar structure and effect as opiates, which can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. By mimicking the effects of the addictive substance in a natural and controlled manner, acupuncture helps the brain gradually adapt and reduce its dependence on the substance in question.
  • Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture with the NADA protocol: The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) has developed a specific auricular acupuncture protocol for addiction. It involves the insertion of five needles into specific points in the ear. These points correspond to the lung, liver, kidney, and sympathetic nervous system, which, when stimulated, can aid in detoxification, reduce cravings, and induce a calm state of mind.

Start Feeling Better Today!

Holistic treatment, such as acupuncture, has shown lasting effects in fighting off various disorders. This method of treatment carves a pathway to complete wellness in life. At our acupuncture clinic in Aventura Florida, we provide the best available forms of natural treatment to our patients. Call us at 786-537-7022 to book an appointment and get started today!