Acupuncture Treatment for Anxiety and Depression
by Bryan L. Frank
Anxiety and depression are commonplace in American society. Conventional treatments generally consist of pharmaceutical intervention and/or psychological counseling. However, acupuncture has shown to be beneficial for many that suffer from anxiety and depression, and offers a complementary or alternative solution for many that prefer less dependence on pharmaceuticals.
While many Americans are familiar with the benefits of acupuncture for pain, many are not aware that acupuncture has a long history and solid medical journal support for treating a number of medical conditions, including psychosomatic conditions, such as anxiety and depression; high blood pressure; bowel issues; asthma; cancer; substance abuse; and more.
A recent medical acupuncture article was published in the highly regarded German publication Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur (German Journal of Acupuncture), demonstrating the benefits of laser acupuncture treatment for those suffering with depression. This study was a randomized, double blind, controlled trial using low-level laser stimulation of acupuncture points. Conventional psychometric evaluations, such as the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, assessed the change in severity of depression, with outcomes evaluated at eight weeks. In the active laser acupuncture group, scores remained significantly lower than baseline at the three-month follow-up.
Many others have reported the benefits of acupuncture for anxiety and depression, burnout syndrome and other psycho-emotional clinical conditions. Often, the acupuncture intervention applies classic stainless steel acupuncture needles to body acupuncture points, while at other times the approach is through auricular therapy, wherein the entire energetics of the body is projected to the external ear. Auricular therapy, in fact, led to the initial acceptance of acupuncture in the United States, due to its significant benefit in drug rehabilitation programs. Stimulation of points may be by acupuncture needles, laser or microcurrent. While each is effective, the laser and microcurrent techniques are especially useful for children as well as those that are needle shy.
Those that seek acupuncture for anxiety and depression should expect to be treated regularly—twice weekly for three to five weeks—upon beginning treatment. While some will see a rapid decrease in symptoms, others will notice the benefits gradually. It is therefore not recommended to seek only two to three treatments and then quit, or to continue for 20 to 30 sessions with no change appreciated. Many that respond well to acupuncture for anxiety and depression will continue to do well with only periodic acupuncture to maintain their balance.
Bryan L. Frank, M.D., is board certified in pain management, medical acupuncture, and anti-aging and regenerative medicine. He is also president of Global Mission Partners, a nonprofit that brings health services to underprivileged nations. For more information, call 405-763-7603. or visit Re-GenesisHealth.com.