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Treating Anxiety and Depression with Acupuncture and Other Natural Therapies

Current figures are showing that close to 50 million North Americans are struggling with chronic anxiety or depression. Antidepressant medications have become the most commonly prescribed drug in the United States, and Canada is not far behind. While these medications do offer support and benefit on certain occasions, there are many people that do not respond well to this form of treatment. This can be due to several factors including:

  • Various side effects that outweigh the benefits of the medication

  • A developed tolerance to the medication that causes the benefits to diminish

  • Excessive sensitivity to the concentrated nature of these medications

  • A belief system that suggests anxiety is not due to a biochemical imbalance, or that the imbalance is the result of a deeper spiritual issue.

Oftentimes, patients look to complementary therapies after finding medications and/or talk therapy to be ineffective in addressing their anxiety and depression. Many of these people will try acupuncture when they feel they have nothing left to lose. Once they experience the beneficial "shift" from treatment, these individuals often state that they wish they hadn't waited so long to try an alternative approach.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined, through controlled clinical trials, that acupuncture is an effective treatment for depression. To understand this more accurately, acupuncture alone should not be viewed as a cure. Instead, its role is to calm and balance the nervous system, bring on deep relaxation, and create "space" to better one's mental-emotional state. Combining acupuncture, proper diet/herbs, and meditation practices, along with conventional talk therapy, is a highly effective and sustainable treatment approach to dealing with anxiety and depression. It is much less invasive to the brain and body than using SSRI medications. A complementary approach with acupuncture is more comprehensive and offers great support in healing the root cause of these psycho-emotional challenges.

Articles and Research


Pin Down Depression: Psychology Today

Acupuncture for Minor Depression and Generalized Anxiety: PubMed

Auricular Acupuncture Effective in Treating Anxiety: Acupuncture Today

If you would like to learn more about acupuncture and discuss your specific health situation, please phone 403.455.0880. Dr. Wegmann will be happy to answer your questions.

Mitch Wegmann is a registered acupuncturist and doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He owns and operates Calgary Acupuncture Centre in the city's southwest quadrant, near the Marda Loop district.

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