Emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, stress and panic disorders are common presentations for medical attention in today’s society. It is normal to experience these feelings from time to time as part of our everyday life. However, when they become a prolonged state of emotion or in frequent occurrence they can have a severe impact on our daily functioning. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), these are generally categorised into Shen Zhi Bing, which means Spirit or Mental disorders.
Western Medical treatment for emotional problems
Western medical treatment for mental disorders usually involves the prescription of an antidepressant or anxiolytic in attempt to manage the symptoms. However, these medications often come with unwanted side effects such as agitation, dizziness, headaches and gastrointestinal upset. For those who prefer a drug free or natural approach, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have become an increasingly popular option. Acupuncture can also be combined with Western medical treatment.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine view emotional problems?
In the holistic paradigm of TCM, emotional problems are seen as manifestations of internal imbalance. This is caused by the dysfunction of the different organs (Zang Fu) and various pathogenic factors. One of the most common patterns of disharmony is the stagnation of the Liver Qi. This means that the liver energy does not move freely, it gets stuck.
From Chinese medicine perspective, the Liver has many important functions which include storing Blood, ensuring the smooth movement of energy (Qi) throughout the body and regulating emotions. When we are affected by strong emotions or in a lot of distress, the Liver Qi can become stagnant and vice versa. When the Qi circulation in the body does not flow smoothly, say from lack of exercise or Liver disharmony, we are prone to get bodily pain and feel easily stressed. Other common presentations of Liver Qi stagnation are frequent sighing, waking up between 1-3am, premenstrual tension, digestive issues and alternate bowel habits.
Other TCM patterns which may cause emotional problems are Heart and Spleen deficiency and Internal Phlegm or Dampness. The former often presents with palpitations, fatigue, constant worrying and pale complexion; where the later pattern is often accompanied by symptoms of chest oppression, fogginess in the head, sluggish body and soft sticky stools
Can acupuncture help with emotional problems?
When you come for acupuncture treatment your practitioner will listen to your problems and examine you thoroughly. Then we will use all that information to make a Chinese medicine diagnosis (like described above). With acupuncture we don’t just look at your symptoms, we also look at the underlying problems your body may have. We figure out why it is that you’re having the symptoms to start with. Treatment will then be focused on restoring the balance in your body, so that the symptoms do not arise anymore. In other words, we treat you as a whole, not your symptoms.
Can I get a rebate for my acupuncture sessions?
Acupuncture is not covered under Medicare but if you have private health insurance, you may be able to get a rebate for your sessions. We have HICAPS in our clinic so if you bring in your card you will only have to pay the gap.
How do I make an acupuncture appointment?