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Treatment of Depression from a Chinese medicine perspective  (April 8th, 2005)

Chinese medicine treats depression from a completely different set of assumptions than Allopathic medicine, often with profound results and without expensive and potentially harmful drugs.  From the perspective of Chinese medicine, depression is most often the result of stuck Liver Qi.  Qi is the vital energy that flows through the body, animating and energizing every function.  In Chinese medicine the Liver is responsible for the free flow of Qi in the body as well as the energy behind growth, achievement and, most importantly, vision.  When the Liver Qi flows freely, a person feels alert, content, mellow and at peace.  When the Liver Qi stagnates a person feels agitated, short tempered, angry and eventually depressed.  The Liver Qi, however, only provides the energy behind the growth, not the direction or the wisdom to grow in an intelligent or healthy way.  When we are cut off in traffic for example, it is our stuck Liver Qi that sometimes, quite uncharacteristically, causes us to grow angry and frustrated since our perception is that the other driver is impeding our progress or growth. 


It is the Lung Qi which is responsible for controlling the Liver Qi and keeping it in check.  This is why in moments of frustration and anger, taking a deep breath can help so much.  The Lungs in Chinese medicine are related to the emotion of grief.  Unresolved grief can weaken the Lung Qi, and thus fail to control the Liver Qi, resulting in anger and depression.  Often times our long standing anger and depression is the result of our grief failing to find healthy expression in the world.  This is why deep and conscious breathing can quite dramatically alter our response to stress.  Also why meditation, where we bring our awareness inward to our breath, can be so helpful in dealing with both grief and anger. 


So how does one tonify the Lung Qi, move the stuck Liver Qi and become reconnected with a personal vision?  Talk therapy can help create an intelligent direction of the Liver Qi but that alone isnít enough for someone who has suffered years of depression since their Liver Qi is exhausted.  Acupuncture is remarkably effective at tonifying and moving blocked Liver Qi as well as tonifying the Lung Qi.  Skillful acupuncture treatments and appropriate herbal remedies can restore balance within the energetic systems around depression, ultimately helping the patient overcome their depression from the root cause.  One of the most difficult steps many depressed people face is the first one - to admit that they need help.  There is still a stigma and a lot of shame and blame around depression in our society.  If you think that you may be depressed, know that you are not alone and that there are options besides drugs available to you.  Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can provide a powerful system of energetic, emotional and physical support in the treatment of depression without risky drugs. 


Copyright 2005 Oasis Acupuncture


Christopher Vedeler is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Scottsdale, Arizona, with a Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine.  He is the owner of Oasis Acupuncture, an Oriental medicine clinic where he operates a general family practice that specializes in treating psychological and emotional disorders including stress, anxiety and depression from the Chinese medicine perspective.  Visit www.oasisacupuncture.com or call Chris at 480-991-3650 for more information.