Alleviate Depression / Stress


The causes and types of depression vary from major depression to chronic depression, atypical depression, bipolar depression, just to name a few. The National Institute of Mental Health defines major depressive disorder as being characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with work, sleep study, eating, and loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities.  With a major depression (clinical) lasting more than a few days these normal activities can prevent one from functioning normally.  Clinical depression may occur once in a lifetime, or can be a recurring theme throughout their life.  Diagnosis of a major depression requires that symptoms be present daily (or most of the day) for at least two weeks.  These symptoms must also cause significant distress or impairment in functioning (barring direct effects of any medications).

The Western biomedical community for the most part utilizes various pharmaceuticals, and diagnosis is based upon what type of drug is going to be used in each case.  Traditional Chinese medicine takes the entire person into consideration, and with the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine, helps to mobilize any stagnant energy and build up and deficiency that might be cause to this problem.  No harmful drugs that can cause dependency, and rarely resolve the underlying problem is utilized.  By balancing out the system from an energetic perspective, balance and mood elevation is restored.

Please read the study done below concerning the effect of acupuncture on depression.

Elyse Josephs, L.Ac., Dipl.OM

Effects of electroacupuncture on behavior, plasma COR and expressions of PKA and PKC in hippocampus of the depression model rat

[Article in Chinese]
Lu F, Zhu HM, Xie JJ, Zhou HH, Chen YL, Hu JY.Medical College, Xiamen University, Fujian, and Xiamen City Hospital of TCM, China.

OBJECTIVE: To probe into the mechanism of acupuncture for treatment of depression. METHODS: Thirty-two healthy SD male rats were randomly divided into a normal group, a model group, an electroacupuncture (EA) group and a Maprotiline group. The depression rat model was made in the latter three groups, and from the second day of the experiment EA was given at Baihui (GV 20), “Yintang” (EX-HN 1), “Zusanli” (ST 36) and “Fenglong” (ST 40) in the EA group, once every other day; the rats in the Maprotiline group were treated with oral administration of Maprotiline hydrochroride, once each day. After treatment of 3 weeks, changes of behaviors, plasma cortisol (COR) level and expressions of protein kinase A (PKA) and protein kinase C (PKC) in hippocampus were observed in the rats. RESULTS: In the depression model rats, the body weight increased slowly, and horizontal and vertical activities and consumption of sugar liquid significantly decreased; plasma cortisol content significantly increased; expressions of PKA and PKC in the hippocampus significantly reduced. In the rats of EA group, the score of behaviors, the consumption of sugar liquid and the increase of body weight were not significantly different to those in the model group, but the plasma cortisol level significantly decreased and closed to the normal level, and positive expressions of PKA and PKC in the hippocampus could be effectively reversed. In the Maprotiline group, the consumption of sugar liquid significantly increased and plasma cortisol level significantly decreased, and expressions of PKA and PKC in the hippocampus increased as compared with those in the model group. CONCLUSION: The depression model rat has dysfunction of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA) and EA can regulate functions of HPAA. The mechanism is possibly carried out by regulating functions of relative enzymes in the signal transduction pathway in hippocampal cells.

PMID: 18447224 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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All living creatures are in a constant interchange with their environment both physically and behaviorally. Stress is a normal part of daily life as well as it is a fact of physics. All form (energy) is in constant interchange with all other forms in their environment.

Stress is thought of in negative terms because of the seeming overabundance of stress in modern life. Especially living in a city as diversified and busy as New York City.

Stress is related to both external and internal factors. External stress factors include the physical environment: jobs, relationships with others, your home, including all the challenges, situations, emotions, expectations experienced daily. Internal stress factors determine the body’s ability to respond to, and deal with, the external factors causing stress in our lives.

It is extremely important to consider the overall health from a lifestyle point of view in determining the individual’s ability to handle stress. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine can balance the energies and build up the individuals’ resistance in coping with stress both physically and emotionally. Therefore creating a stronger constitution that is resistant to disease and emotional problems.

Elyse Josephs, L.Ac., Dipl. OM

Stress: What is it?

Although we all talk about stress, it often isn’t clear what stress is really about. Many people consider stress to be something that happens to them, an event such as an injury or a promotion. Others think that stress is what happens to our bodies, minds and behaviours in response to an event (e.g. heart pounding, anxiety, or nail biting). While stress does involve events and our response to them, these are not the most important factors. Our thoughts about the situations in which we find ourselves a re the critical factor. When something happens to us, we automatically evaluate the situation mentally. We decide if it is threatening to us, how we need to deal with the situation, and what skills we can use. If we decide that the demands of the situation outweigh the skills we have, then we label the situation as “stressful” and react with the classic “stress response”. If we decide that our coping skills outweigh the demands of the situation, then we don’t see it as “stressful”. Everyone sees situations differently and has different coping skills. For this reason, no two people will respond exactly the same way to a given situation. Additionally, not all situations that are labelled “stressful” are negative. The birth of a child, being promoted or moving to a new home may not be perceived as threatening. However, we may feel that situations are “stressful” because we don’t feel fully prepared to deal with them. Some situations in life are stress-provoking, but it is our thoughts about situations that determine whether they are a problem to us. How we perceive a stress-provoking event and how we react to it determines its impact on our health. We may be motivated and invigorated by the events in our lives, or we may see some as “stressful” and respond in a manner that may have a negative effect on our physical, mental and social well-being. If we we always respond in a negative way our health and happiness may suffer. By understanding ourselves and our reactions to stress-provoking situations, we can learn to handle stress more effectively. We hope that this booklet will help you to build better coping skills for managing stress.

Canadian Mental Health Association

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