Acupuncture effectively treats mild to moderate depression and may be used in conjunction to western medications. By correcting imbalances in the Liver and Kidney energies, people can begin to feel well within the first few weeks of treatment.
The Role of the Liver in Depression
The liver in Chinese medicine is different than the traditional western organ of the liver. It is assigned both physical and emotional attributes.
- Stores and cleans the blood
- Moves Qi (energy) throughout the body
- Is in charge of “Planning”
- Is associated with the emotions of Anger, Frustration, Depression
Uncontrolled and excessive emotions can affect any organ, but when they affect the liver they cause stagnation and impaired energy flow throughout the body. This condition is known as Liver Qi Stagnation.
Liver Qi Stagnation Symptoms:
- Frequent sighing
- Shallow breathing
- Tightness below the rib cage
- Insomnia (waking 1-3 AM)
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Irregular and painful menses
The Role of the Kidney in Depression
The kidney has many important functions in Chinese Medicine. In the context of depression, the kidney is an important storehouse of energy. When depleted by overwork, poor dietary and health habits, and lack of rest, one can feel tired or enervated.
The kidneys are also responsible for our essence, or our “inherited” strength we receive from our parents. The strength of one’s essence determines both constitutional and psychological strength. A weakness of essence is a significant factor in inherited psychological conditions like severe depression, bi-polar disorder, and schizophrenia.
These conditions are known as Kidney Yang and Essence Deficiency.
Kidney Yang and Essence Deficiency Symptoms:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Frequent urination
- Diarrhea (especially in the early morning)
- Heat in the palms and feet
- “Empty” or dull headaches