Depression (also called major depression) is a mood disorder characterised by a persistent feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in regular activities. It affects how you think, feel and behave, making it difficult to get through day-to-day activities. It's not something you can simply 'snap out of' and may require treatment. According to Tracey-Ann Brown, an oriental medicine practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine, and adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a number of approaches in managing depression.
Treatments are created to:
- Calm and settle the shen/spirit
- Reduce anxiety, irritability and restlessness
- Clear thoughts
- Restore healthy sleep patterns
- Improve energy and a general sense of vitality
- Lift the mood and general feelings of sadness.
In some cases, TCM protocols are used in conjunction with other types of treatment plans such as herbal formulas. Herbal formulas are prepared using a combination of several herbs. Powdered shells and minerals are commonly used to relieve depression and to calm and relieve anxiety, irritability, agitation, restore normal sleep patterns, improve concentration and forgetfulness. These include:
Herbs such as suan zao ren (sour jujube seed), fu Ling (poria mushroom) or he huan pi (mimosa tree bark or 'collective happiness bark') are calming herbs that anchor, settle and calm the spirit. These substances have a tranquilising effect and are primarily used in cases of extreme agitation and anger.
In preparing herbal prescriptions, herbs may also be added to address other accompanying health issues in order to achieve an optimal feeling of well-being. For example, if depression is accompanied by digestive problems or body aches, then a formula would be prepared to address these issues simultaneously.
Acupuncture is also administered alongside herbal remedies to address the symptoms of depression. Thin needles are inserted at acupuncture points selected from more than 1,000 points on the body and gently stimulated. Primary points used are:
- Sishencong: improves memory, mental function, concentration
- Ear Shen Men: notably calms agitation and irritability
- Yin Tang: especially enhances focus, concentration, memory and insomnia.
It is recommended to eat healthy, get regular exercise and sleep in addition to learning ways to relax and manage stress. To learn more, read the original article found on The Gleaner.