There are several reasons behind seeking an alternative medication for depression. The primary reason as to why people despise antidepressant is because it has a lot of side effects. Since takingantidepressant during the pregnancy is termed risky for the health of the baby, people often choose to seek alternative medication, as well.

Fortunately, a research suggests that acupuncture could be a viable option to treat depression. Apart from being the alternative medication for depression, according to one of the studies, acupuncture is also said to help treat the medications’ side effects.

If you are not fully aware of acupuncture, it’s a therapy where a practitioner inserts needles into the skin at points of the body thought to correspond with specific organs and thereby healing the disease.

Benefits Of AcupunctureOne of the studies suggests that acupuncture may help with one particularly difficult aspect of depression treatment: the sexual side effects of some medications. A twelve weeks of acupuncture helped both men and women with several aspects of sexual functioning.

Acupuncture significantly reduces the drug withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, some of the experts view acupuncture as a safe and potentially effective method of treating depression.

In the case of chronic anxiety and depression, Acupuncture and naturopathic medicine provide excellent strategies and tools for effectively treating both, and for supporting patients in working with their underlying stress.

Many studies have demonstrated the benefit of acupuncture for treating anxiety disorders and there is evidence that acupuncture’s effect is comparable to that of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a type of counseling commonly used for patients with anxiety and depression.

What to Expect When You Take Up Acupuncture?As said earlier, Acupuncture can be taken alone as a therapy but if the case is chronic, it can be accompanied with a naturopathic care. Initially, the therapy can be as much as 6-10 times weekly.  After that time, treatments may be spaced out to once every 2 weeks or continued weekly treatments may be recommended depending on how the treatment is progressing.  Over time as patients feel better and better, the time between visits gets longer until eventually patients only come for “tune up” treatments every 3 months to help maintain balance, or as needed when acutely stressful situations arise.

The experience of having acupuncture is pleasant, relaxing and energizing. The needles are hair thin, sterile and generally painless and never used twice. There may be a brief soreness or pulling sensation which means that your qi has connected with the needle.

To learn more, go to http://www.curejoy.com/content/can-acupuncture-treat-depression/

Acupuncture is one of the main forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine, which involves the stimulation of specific acupuncture points along the skin using thin needles. These hair-thin needles are inserted in the body at very specific points. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture as an effective treatment for over forty medical problems.

Acupuncture Treatment Session Would Include:1. Pre-Acupuncture Session- An extensive assessment of your medical history and treatment strategies for your physical, nutritional and emotional state will be incorporated.

- The acupuncturist may take a close examination of your tongue. Viewing your tongue can provide a great deal of information about your body to help guide the treatment.

- The acupuncturist may take detailed pulse evaluation which includes your blood pressure and pulse count, the strength, rhythm and quality of the pulse in your wrist.

- The therapist may check and evaluate the parts of your body that are hurting.

2. During The Acupuncture Treatment Session- Acupuncture points are situated in all areas of the body. The appropriate points may sometimes be far from the area of your pain. Hence according to the treatment requirement, your acupuncture practitioner may inform you of the general sites of the planned treatment.

- The treatment would then involve needling. Hence according to the site of the planned treatment, the needles are inserted. New pre-sterilized, flexible stainless steel needles are supposed to be used for each treatment. The placement and number of needles used during your treatment is individualized and determined by your acupuncturist based on disease, patient and season.

- You can then relax and lie still, as in most cases the needles remain in place for about 10 to 20 minutes. There is usually no discomfort when the needles are removed.

- Initially the treatment may take about an hour; the following sessions usually take about 30 minutes. The number and the duration of treatment would depend on the condition being treated and the severity.

Benefits of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine:Not everyone responds to acupuncture. Hence the benefits may vary among individuals, but listed below are some of the key known benefits of acupuncture treatment.

1. Treats and prevents disease and illness.

2. Relieves pain and other symptoms by restoring the smooth flow of your body’s vital energy and the release of beta-endorphins (body’s natural pain killer).

3. It can treat the primary cause of the dysfunction by strengthening your body’s organ, nervous and circulatory systems.

4. And most importantly acupuncture encourages the body to heal itself.

To learn more, go to http://www.curejoy.com/content/expect-first-acupuncture-visit/

A common question asked by prospective and new patients at Above & Beyond Acupuncture is in regards to what it feels like to have acupuncture needles inserted into their body.  Often we will be asked if it hurts, as many people correlate acupuncture needles with syringes (a comparison that is far from reality but is completely understandable). Having a fear of needles is quite common, so we always do our best to share as much information about the difference between an acupuncture needle and a syringe so people can understand they are not alike.

To provide some perspective, we inform people that acupuncture needles are roughly the diameter of a human hair; depending on the gauge (thickness) of the needle, some are actually thinner that that.  You can fit about 10 acupuncture needles into the shaft of a syringe, which is helpful imagery when trying to compare the two.  Different sized needles are used by some acupuncturists, depending on the area of the body being treated; for example, needles that are placed on the face are much thinner than those used on the torso.

So now allow me to elaborate on how it feels to receive acupuncture.  The experience is very subjective, and no two people will describe it the same way, but there are some common feelings/sensations that most people report.  There are about 366 primary acupuncture points spread all over the body, and some of these points are located in areas that are very sensitive.  When a needle is inserted into the body, specifically into a more sensitive area, you might feel a little pinch, which can feel mildly sharp at first but will dissipate very quickly.  There are many points on the body that you will have no sensation in relation to at all; in fact you might wonder if there is a needle in that point.

After the insertion, and the sensation that is experienced with it, many patients report a dull ache in the area surrounding the needle.  Some also report feeling an electric sensation, while others state that they feel a heavy sensation.  This feeling is in reference to Qi (energy) being affected, and it can be drawn to or away from the acupuncture point depending upon the insertion style and intention of the practitioner. A helpful definition is that Qi is the energy of the body, of the meridians, of food, of the universe. [Link]  A discussion of Qi, what it is, and how it is used will be the topic of a future post. We just wanted to provide a very brief definition to help provide some basic understanding of the term Qi. After all the needles are inserted, patients will often experience a sense of euphoria where they can feel energy flowing all throughout their body.  Other patients report feeling very calm and will often fall asleep for short durations during the session.  When the treatment is over and the acupuncture needles are removed, many people report experiencing a deep sense of relaxation, feeling very calm and sedate.

Since there is so much subjectivity in regards to receiving acupuncture, we hope you will consider having the experience so you can see for yourself how unique and amazing it is. Posted Monday, April 14th, 2014 by Paul Kerzner.   To learn more about acupuncture in detail; please take a look at your convenience: [Link]

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years throughout many parts of the world. But despite its long track record as a successful treatment for a host of maladies and overall wellness, for many people in the west it continues to be misunderstood and relegated to the sidelines of medicine.

This means that millions of people are missing out on its benefits, simply due to a lack of awareness about how it works and why, and what it can do for them. Acupuncture is an ancient healing art and well worth getting to know a little better, so here are some of the basics:

1. Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on or near the surface of the skin, called acupuncture points.

These points have high concentrations of nerve endings, mast cells, lymphatics and capillaries, all capable of triggering biochemical and physiological changes in the body, from the subtle to the dramatic.

When a needle is inserted into an acupuncture point, it stimulates the sensory receptor and sets off a chain reaction — the sensory receptor stimulates the nerve, which in turn transmits impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. This complex system of interactions between the brain, hormones and glands is a powerhouse, responsible for regulating a number of bodily processes.

One of the processes that acupuncturists commonly work with is the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones (thought to be some 200 times more potent than morphine!). Endorphins play a significant role in the hormonal system, which is why acupuncture is effective in treating back pain, arthritis, PMS and even infertility.

Acupuncture is also used to release substances that relax the body and regulate serotonin, which affects emotions. Other physiological effects include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, easing of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count, which supports the immune system.

2. Qi (pronounced “chee”) plays a vital role in acupuncture, and there's a lot of misconception about the concept.

“Qi” is a Chinese word that roughly translates to “energy.” Like the word energy, the word qi is used in many different ways to describe many different things. For example, a car is called a “qi vehicle”; if you’re angry, you have “rising qi”; the weather is “sky qi”; if you’re stingy, that’s “little qi.”

In modern and traditional Chinese medicine, qi is used mainly as a metaphor for metabolic function. For example, “heart qi” would refer to functions of the heart and cardiovascular system, and “ancestral qi” refers to genetics. Most modern practitioners are well-versed in the Latin science and disease terminology of Western medicine, and will often use this language.

3. Acupuncturists undergo extensive, rigorous training that incorporates both Eastern and Western medicine.

Acupuncture is a respected field of medicine, and most states, provinces and countries require formal training and certification. The U.S. has particularly rigorous standards. Most states require completion of approximately 3,500 hours of formal education from an accredited acupuncture school.

This usually leads to a four-year Master's degree in Acupuncture (M.S.A.C.) or Traditional Oriental Medicine (M.S.T.O.M.). In addition, licensing requires written and practical state and/or national board exams. Training includes all aspects of Western medicine and Traditional Oriental Medicine.

Some acupuncturists pursue an advanced doctoral degree, the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (D.A.O.M.). The highest degree available in the U.S., the D.A.O.M. requires an additional 2,500 hours and two-and-a-half years of schooling.

4. Almost everyone can benefit from acupuncture.

Regardless of your health history and physical background, almost anyone is a candidate for acupuncture. If you have an ailment, acupuncture can help relieve it. If you feel well, acupuncture can help you maintain wellness, boost immunity and manage stress. Acupuncturists are trained to work in collaboration with your MD to coordinate treatment. Patients very often see greater improvement in their condition when treated by both an MD and an acupuncturist.

5. Acupuncture is a form of therapy.

As much as I’m tempted to believe it because of the amazing results I’ve seen, acupuncture is not magic. In reality, it is a form of therapy and should be seen as such. As with any therapy, such as physical therapy or psychotherapy, there is always a treatment plan. The practitioner works with the patient to decide on a plan that best fits his or her needs. This may involve just a few sessions for simpler issues or long-term management for serious chronic conditions.

Given its 2,500-year history and myriad uses, acupuncture is a fascinating topic, worthy of in-depth exploration. You can learn more here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com