Depression is very common and complex and often the symptoms can be different for everyone. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view, the underlying imbalances leading to depression can be several different ones. This makes that treating depression with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is very unique and has an individual approach.
In TCM emotions are related to the Yin organs, and the symptoms someone experiences tell us which of the organs is not in balance. Let us have a look at the Yin organs related to the 5 Elements that each have their own way of expressing symptoms of depression.
- Wood Element – Liver: The Liver is associated with creativity, intuition and making of plans. A healthy Liver enables planning and has a clear vision and insight. When the Liver energy is out of balance there will be a lack of inspiration, loss of insight and diminished creativity. No motivation or insight to start anything.
- Fire Element – Heart: The Heart is associated with feeling energetic, enthusiastic, connecting to other people and the emotion of Joy. When the Heart energy is out of balance there will be a lack of joy, the mood will be very flat, nothing is exciting and there will be a tendency to withdraw from other people.
- Earth Element – Spleen: The Spleen is responsible for thinking and mental activity. When the Spleen energy is out of balance there will be excessive thinking, worry and an inability to concentrate. One will quickly lose interest and will not be able to focus on the simplest of things.
- Metal Element – Lungs: The Lungs are related to sadness and when the Lung energy is out of balance it will show as a constant feeling of sadness and crying. There will be extreme sensitivity and vulnerability and one might feel isolated from the world and society.
- Water Element – Kidneys: The Kidneys are associated with memory, motivation, ambition and will power. Healthy Kidney energy means that we feel stable in the face of adversity, when there is an imbalance there is a lack of grounding. This type of depression deals more with despair and fear.
There are many layer to understanding depression and it is of great importance to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Often this incorporates acupuncture and lifestyle advice, with the correct herbs and/or medications.
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