The amount of Americans suffering from mental health issues is staggering, and the recent pandemic has increased the mental toll for many individuals. An estimated 1 in 4 adults suffers from some type of mental health disorder in any given year, with the most common ailments including anxiety and depression.

In an age when many people are wary of Western medicine and feel it may be over prescribed, sufferers from these ailments are turning to alternative treatments. Many Americans are looking at long-standing Traditional Chinese medicine therapies as a way to deal with depression and anxiety to improve overall mental health. Acupuncture is a significant component of East Asian and Traditional Chinese medicine that can alleviate some mental illnesses.

Acupuncture & Mental Health

Acupuncture is a therapy that has been employed for millennia in Eastern medicine. The therapy uses thin needles inserted into the skin to stimulate specific areas of the body. The process can revitalize energy flow by stimulating the body’s nervous system to improve the relationship between many organs and functions of the body. Due to this benefit, acupuncture has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a way to enhance wellness, improve physiological and mental performance, and help people achieve relief from chronic pain.

Acupuncture releases endorphins that help to reduce pain sensations and increase the circulation of bodily fluids. It can also increase the amount of oxygen in the blood and deliver proper nutrients to bodily tissues. This increase of oxygen also helps with the elimination of waste products from cells.

Mental health problems can be extremely disruptive to daily life for those who suffer from a wide variety of mental health disorders. These feelings can impact emotions, relationships, and job performance, among other things. When the heart rate is regulated through acupuncture, blood pressure can drop, and cortisol – the body’s primary stress hormone – levels may be balanced. Additionally, the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating the body’s stress response, can be positively impacted by acupuncture. This benefit can lead to long-lasting relief from the effects of chronic stress and anxiety.

Acupuncture can also be used to reduce muscle tension by allowing the body to relax. In turn, this response usually improves digestive function and can decrease heart rate. Acupuncture frequently provides individuals with a state of calmness marked by the peace of one’s mind – all of which can alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety. Individuals who pursue acupuncture often report that they sleep better, their metabolism is improved, and that many common symptoms of depression and anxiety are improved.

Choosing Acupuncture for Better Mental Health

Acupuncture makes perfect sense as a modality for helping mental health problems and promoting better cognitive functions. It can alleviate stress and depression by releasing endorphins, which serve as the body’s natural painkiller. It also can increase circulation, lower the heart rate and blood pressure, and relaxes muscle tissues. These functions optimize the body’s overall performance, helping patients feel better mentally and physically. And many sleep better.

Many times, Acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative to prescription medications. It addresses direct causes of stress and anxiety and works to correct underlying imbalances within the body that magnify the effects of stress and anxiety. Recent studies have found that acupuncture is a valuable adjunct therapy for those with mental health disorders. For example, of women included in one study, nearly half experienced a reduction in symptoms of depression after eight weeks of treatment.

Acupuncture works particularly well when combined with other therapies that address conditions of anxiety, depression, or increased stress, such as massage therapy. In addition, lifestyle changes that promote mental health can also improve the efficacy of acupuncture. Examples include getting adequate sleep and exercise and eating a diet high in vitamins and nutrients.

Mental health and wellness will continue to be of the utmost importance. Our society is marked by individuals who feel overworked and worry about many things, including their personal safety and the health and safety of loved ones throughout the pandemic. Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for those who do not want to pursue pharmaceutical options or have severe side effects from prescriptions.

It can also be added to an existing plan to benefit overall mental health and wellness. This approach allows the full benefits of multiple treatment strategies to be realized. Contact us today to learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your mental health and promote wellness. Our knowledgeable team can help to develop a unique treatment approach to optimize your mental health.

MK Integrative Wellness offers various natural and herbal medicine options that use naturopathic medicine principles, from consultations, acupuncture, customized herbal formulations, natural pain management, and more. Our team can help you to manage your health and wellness through natural medicine options proactively.