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Acupuncture to activate relaxation


#1

Hello, I've had fatigue, muscle stiffness, and sleeping problems for the past 3 years due to an extremely stressful college semester. I managed to graduate last year January but at the cost of running my body down. Seeing a psychiatrist was the last thing I wanted to do but I decided to give it a try. He claimed I had depression so since the start of this year until now, I've taken 3 worthless antidepressants which haven't worked at all and only given me side effects. Now he wants to prescribe another by next month. I'm fed up with his treatments and I've always been skeptical that I had depression.

My thought is that stress had accumulated in my body over the years to the point that it couldn't handle the stress anymore. For some reason, activating relaxation is very difficult for me. Even when I was taking judo in my middle school to high school years, I couldn't relax during our meditation sessions. Additionally, supplements and herbs that are supposed to induce relaxation like chamomile, 5-HTP, melatonin, kava kava, etc. have no effect on me. Even a muscle relaxant my physician prescribed to me last year didn't work and only made me sleepy. It's as if I'm resistant to such relaxants. That's why I've decided to give acupuncture a try. I've been to an acupuncturist a few years back who specialized in Chinese acupuncture, but his treatments didn't do anything for me including the red ginseng and astragalus. At the end, he was confused why I wasn't improving. I've also seen one who specializes in Japanese acupuncture last year and her treatments were pretty effective so I've recently started going to her again since I have insurance. I'm being hopeful, but I was wondering can acupuncture activate the relaxation response to the point that it can eliminate pent up stress? Can it help me to consciously activate relaxation after treatments are done like when I do deep breathing exercises?


#2


Acupuncture is used frequently and with good effect to treat the entire range of mental health issues including depression and anxiety. I cannot imagine that with a good acupuncturist and perhaps some Chinese herbal formulas that you will not improve. Certainly western herbs like Chamomile, etc. are very limited in their use (in my opinion) particularly when compared to Chinese formulas which have been built up by generations of masters for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years. While it is difficult to comment on what other people were trying to accomplish without knowing your whole case I do wonder whether the Ginseng and Astragalus formula (or Ren Shen Huang Qi San) was correct for you - it is generally best for people who are extremely run down with strong bodily weakness, spontaneous sweating, etc.



If I were you I would read through our sections on anxiety and depression. Certainly you should be able to meditate with practice and if you cannot simply sit still for 20 minutes or so you should be able to after proper treatment. After things get better in balance you can work with meditation, tai chi, whatever to help keep you balanced over time.



Basically within Chinese Medicine there are about 4 primary ways to get depression and a few more to have anxiety so proper diagnosis within Chinese Medicine is key - rather than a catch all medication or western formula.


#3


Thank you Mr. Dupuis. I&#39ll go ahead and take a look around the forums you mentioned. As for the red ginseng and astragalus, I think I remember the Chinese acupuncturist telling me that they were supposed to increase my energy and tolerance to stress. Now that I&#39m thinking the real issue is to return my body back to a relaxed state, I think I&#39ll pay him a visit to try some relaxing herbs he could recommend to me. I haven&#39t had much experience with Chinese formulas so maybe they would work for me. I&#39ve decided that I no longer want to be under the care of my psychiatrist and am in the middle of tapering off my useless medications. I&#39ll keep everyone updated on how the progress is going.


#4


Li4 & Lv3 for sooth emotion and blood circulation.



YinTang, Pc 6 & Ren 17 for calm down and sooth breathing.



Ren 4 & Ren6 with St36 for build up energy.


#5


Thank you Mr. Mei. I&#39ve checked out Li4 and my acupuncturist did use that point. I&#39ll look at the other later and take note of them.



I was also wondering if going to a massage therapist occasionally would be okay. My mother thinks a massage would really help but I&#39m just wondering if it might interfere with the acupuncture. Also, when clients complain of fatigue, do some describe it as a warm feeling of heaviness? It&#39s strange but this is what my fatigue feels like in a way.


#6


LI 4 with LV 3 is something called the four gates and is best used with acupuncture (together at the same time) than with acupressure. Furthermore they will work best if you have a particular TCM pattern (LV Qi Stagnation specifically and some others). It will be best to first see an acupuncturist, get properly diagnosed, then ask them what points are good for you specifically to use with acupressure.



With regards to massage, they are very complementary.



The heavy feeling you are describing is often attributed to dampness from long term spleen qi deficiency most likely. Again your acupuncturist will be able to go through your entire medical history, physically inspect you, check your tongue, pulse, etc. all of which helps them to come to a clear diagnosis of what is underlying your issues. Once you have a clear pattern all of these questions become much easier to discuss.


#7


I was briefly looking up long term spleen qi deficiency online until I came across some very interesting information. I noticed that teeth marks on the sides of the tongue are a good indicator of spleen qi deficiency. Ever since I cracked under pressure from college, I noticed that my tongue had these unusual imprints on the side but could never figure out what they meant and thought perhaps this was normal. Recently, I checked my tongue in the mirror and the imprints aren&#39t as pronounced as before so I must have been very slowly improving over the months. I also used to feel thirsty to the point that I felt dehydrated since my mouth always felt dry (sometimes the eyes too) but the strange thing is I made sure to drink adequate amounts of water. It feels as if heat is trying to escape from my body. When I told my psychiatrist a long time ago about the thirst and feeling of warmth or overheating, he seemed confused.



Now I&#39m very interested and excited in finding out more about what kind of condition I have in acupuncture terms. I&#39ll have to ask my acupuncturist about what she thinks is going on so that I can research about it. If I think about it now, I&#39ve always had trouble falling asleep back when I was a middle schooler so it could be possible that whatever condition I have right now was already taking shape without me noticing. I should probably tell my acupuncturist about any of my past behaviors that I still experience now since they could be worth pointing out like getting hungry every 2 to 3 hours or sweating easily.


#8


Just asked my acupuncturist yesterday what she thinks is affecting me in acupuncture terms and she said that I indeed have a spleen chi deficiency and blood stagnation. She also said something about water retention (I think that it fluctuates). I always thought that my blood wasn&#39t circulating very well since I didn&#39t feel like it was circulating normally throughout my body. Parts of my body such as my fingers, arms, and legs felt a little enlarged or rather there was some sort of internal pressure but thought that it might&#39ve been crazy to say if I suggested it to a doctor. In fact, it feels so much like stiffness that I think I&#39ve been confusing the 2 all this time. Anyway, my acupuncturist recommended that I exercise to keep the blood flowing.



I will also be taking an herbal product called True Man&#39s "Peaceful Mind" to see if it&#39ll help with my insomnia. I forgot to ask the herbalist if it was safe to take with antidepressants so I&#39ve emailed the company but no response yet. Crossing my fingers to see if this formula will work.



I&#39m so far I&#39m liking the results of the acupuncture and am glad that I followed my instincts when I left my psychiatrist.


#9


For safety, to take herb pills must separate from western pills at least 2 hours, and the herb pill for insomia must take before sleep, that mean once daily if you only night time sleep.


#10


Thanks, Mr. Mei. I tried your suggestion and there doesn&#39t seem to be any negative interactions. I&#39m almost done tapering off of the medication and I can&#39t wait to finally be off of it. My herbalist told me that a few people take up to 5 capsules of Peaceful Mind but a number of people take 2 to 3. I have been taking 3 but it doesn&#39t seem to be working. Perhaps be I need to give it more time.



By the way, the talk therapist my psychiatrist recommended me to last week tested to see if I had depression. Based on my answers, he told me I certainly don&#39t have depression! I also asked my acupuncturist to further explain the condition that&#39s been affecting me and she said that I have a cold/damp spleen chi deficiency with blood stagnation.


#11




These past few weeks have been quite rough since tapering off of the Venlafaxine has been a bother with the withdrawal symptom known as "brain zaps", but I&#39ve finally been free of antidepressants for a week and the brain zaps have now just become a minor withdrawal symptom.



I&#39ve also taken an interest in traditional Chinese medicine and have been skimming through a book called "Chinese Herbal Secrets: The Key to Total Health", as well as checking out a few websites. I checked out a website called "The Longevity Center" and the Self Health Assessment Profile section particularly interested me since it can determine what conditions you may be having based on the list of symptoms it lists. Based on my answers, I have deficient qi and blood, as well as heart and spleen network disturbances. The results left me intrigued because it led me to discover the herbal formula Gui Pi Wan Tang and reading about the type of conditions it helps with made me realize that this herbal formula might just be the right one for me. Since it helps with the heart, spleen, and stressed college students among other things, it really caught my eye since college stress was the cause of my problems after all. I&#39ve been taking Gui Pi Wan Tang for a few days now so I&#39m hoping for the best.


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