One of the potential byproducts of stress over time – and there are many manifestations – is the state of depression. Once known as ‘melancholia’, thanks to Hippocrates, it often presents with symptoms such as: an abiding sense of sadness, inadequate self esteem, a loss of verve and enthusiasm, low sex drive, poor appetite for food as much as life, insomnia, lethargy and cloudy thought processes, to name but a few.
There are many types of potential depressive states. A certain type of depression, for example a ‘reactive’ depression, is a normal reaction to certain external events. It becomes a problem when it negatively constrains normal functioning or persists over a long time period. An ‘endogenous’ depression can emerge from very longstanding ill health, or may be due to genetic factors, possibly colluding with significant situational stress. A commonly seen state is a ‘smiling depression’, wherein one moves around in the world functioning reasonably well, but is besieged by a heavy, paralysing spirit. I describe this as merely ‘existing’ rather than robustly ‘living’.
Chinese medicine doesn’t use the generic label of ‘depression’ but instead involves itself with the physical and psychological manifestations each unique individual brings into the clinic from their life. These are patterns of disharmony and are noted, documented and attended to. My approach is to decide which therapy or combination from my three-pronged approach will have the most beneficial influence in each case and apply it.
Acupuncture is receiving much research interest in its positive effect upon depressive states. In some studies it shows promise as an adjunctive therapy alongside medication. In other studies, acupuncture appears useful when medication doesn’t seem to work and also as a catalyst for medication. So there are many different situations where acupuncture can be utilised. Traditional Chinese herbal formulas are frequently used alongside the acupuncture to harmonise, anchor or nourish what the Chinese call the ‘Shen’, which is what we would term the mind or spirit. Herbs are also used to tonify the Yin, Yang, Qi or Blood, as the case may require.
Depressive states are certainly responsive to counselling and the effective counsellor creates a sacred space for her/his client to explore the underpinnings of low mood that can suck the very life out of its sufferer. The ‘therapeutic relationship’ which forms between the counsellor and client is the ‘crucible of change’, wherein the client can be exposed to multiple perspectives on their perceptions, can be supported to ‘do something different’ and locate deeper and often neglected personal resources and resilience.
Seriously depressed clients may at times benefit from both Eastern and Western medical approaches. Michael is always keen to work integratively with his client’s GP, psychologist or psychiatrist as a situation may demand.
To find out more how Acupuncture, TCM & Counselling might help you, please contact Michael Finn on 0411 537 394 or use the Contact link on the Homepage to send him a message.
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