Insomnia, Anxiety and Depression

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia. For many of us this leaves us incapable of productively living our lives. The stress of too little sleep affects every bodily system, often progressing to other health issues, such as immune suppression, depression, digestive disorders, etc. Unfortunately, standard medical care treats all types of insomnia the same and pharmaceuticals are the primary treatment. These pharmaceuticals interfere with our normal sleep cycle and physiology and can have dangerous side effects and lead to dependence.

Traditional Chinese medicine views insomnia as a complex medical disorder, which has many potential causes and treatments. The sleep disorder is characterized in terms of the nature of the symptoms, such as trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, feelings of anxiousness, etc, as well as the general constitution of the patient. Often there are other physiological imbalances that are at the root of the insomnia problem and if these are not addressed then the sleep disorder cannot be truly healed.

Treatment typically consists of acupuncture, herbal therapy, and life style adjustment. A detailed and thorough medical history is crucial to make an accurate diagnosis. Because insomnia can be caused by a wide range of problems, the exact course of treatment can only be concluded after a proper evaluation. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Many people who suffer from anxiety or depression do not find satisfactory results from conventional therapies, either due to side-effects of pharmaceuticals or the severity of their symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) developed outside the mind/body dichotomy paradigm of modern medicine and thus offers a holistic approach to treating emotional illness. Different psychological imbalances can create physical symptoms and various physical ailments have psychological repercussions. Although, this seems to be the most basic of common sense, this integrated paradigm is only in its infancy within the current medical model. However, TCM has always treated psychological illness from a completely integrated mind-body approach and through 2000 years of recorded clinical usage has developed highly sophisticated treatments for a wide range of mental disorders.

From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) the mind and the body are completely integrated and this philosophy is at its core in the treatment of anxiety disorders. An example of this is the classic panic attack. The genesis of a panic attack lies in a nervous system response. The nervous system becomes overly sensitive to normal stimuli and initiates a strong sympathetic (fight or flight) response at an inappropriate time. This causes a massive release of stress hormones in the body, which leads to heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness, and a strong emotional feeling of anxiety and dread. At the root of this issue is the hypersensitivity of the nervous system and its reaction to our daily stimulus. The western medical treatment is through the use of sedative pharmaceutical medications, which can have many unwanted side-effects, such as drowsiness, a flat affect, etc. Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on re-balancing the nervous system so it no longer generates fight-or-flight responses to non-threatening situations. This is accomplished through the use of acupuncture and gentle herbal therapies.

An estimated 19 million Americans live with major depression. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognizes that there are many different types of depression. Depression is broken down into subcategories, which are determined not only by the depression's emotional quality, such as withdrawal, sadness, anger, frustration, grief, etc., but also by the physical and constitutional nature of the patient. Each of these types of depression has a unique treatment plan based upon the specific symptoms and needs of the patient. Rather than just lumping all depression into a serotonin issue, TCM address the root cause of the body's imbalance, thus naturally correcting physiological function and brain chemistry.

Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine are powerful tools which can greatly enhance the effects of your overall integrative mental health care. At our Dunamis Acupuncture & Herb Clinic we custom tailor a holistic treatment plan to gently re-balance the nervous and endocrine system and restore proper emotional balance. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine are combined with dietary counseling, exercise, and focused relaxation techniques. Self-care techniques, such as meditation and visualization are taught to bolster the effects of treatment and to help the patient gain control over their own emotional well-being. If necessary, proper referrals to other psychological care professionals are made and treatment plans are coordinated.