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Acupuncture Helps Depression And Anxiety, Study Finds

Acupuncture Helps Depression And Anxiety, Study Finds

You may have gone through a period of anxiety and depression in your life or witnessed someone close to you suffer from one or both of these illnesses. As such it may not come as a surprise to you that anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental disorders.

Many people use the conventional medication options to treat these illnesses, but there are those who find that medication does not work well for them or that they do not tolerate it well. Hence, they look for alternative treatments. Gradually acupuncture and other complementary therapies are proving to be legitimate treatments for anxiety and depression. It is important, however to consult a doctor when you seek treatment for your depressed mood or anxious thoughts.

What is Acupuncture?

The Chinese introduced acupuncture to the world as a traditional form of medicine. According to Chinese medicine, acupuncture works by correcting imbalances in the flow of energy (Qi) via channels called meridians.

It is held that five elements (water, wood, fire, earth and metal) affect the internal organs. In acupuncture the practitioner inserts needles into specific points in the body (skin) that are believed to correspond to specific organs, in order to correct energy blocks and return the organs and the body to a balanced state.

As it is believed that the mind and body interact as one, the emotions are thought to elicit a physiological response. The five elements (that influence the internal organs) are linked with five emotions: Water (fear); Wood (anger); Fire (happiness); Earth (worry); Metal (grief).

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Thus, by correcting and balancing the physical, through acupuncture, it is thought that you can also balance the emotions. Western research suggests that the needles used in acupuncture may activate natural painkillers in the brain.

Depression and Anxiety defined

‘Depressive episodes’ may be classified according to the number of symptoms that are present. When fewer symptoms are present the depression is labeled mild; when many symptoms present themselves the depression is severe; in between there is moderate depression.

Diagnoses defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) include single episode or recurrent major depressive disorder (APA, 2000). A major depressive disorder is defined as depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for at  least 2 weeks.”

Anxiety may be defined as a “‘persistent feeling of dread, apprehension and impending disaster or tension and uneasiness’”. The term ‘Anxiety disorders’ is a general term used to refer to different conditions such as: panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety, traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorder due to a general medical condition.

Acupuncture Improves Working Memory and Reduces Anxiety

In a study published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, in October 2013, it was found that students who were privy to a 20-minute acupuncture session presented less anxiety and better memories (directly after the acupuncture) than students who did not have the acupuncture.

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The study which aimed to investigate whether acupuncture can improve memory and reduce anxiety involved 90 undergraduate university students. The students were randomly divided into two groups.

All of the students completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) form Y-1 (State Anxiety, SA) and Y-2 (Trait Anxiety, TA). Each student then lay on a treatment table for 20 minutes. The acupuncture group had needles inserted into select acupoints. The control group of students did not receive any acupuncture treatment. All of the students then completed the STAI form Y-1 again. (After which they completed a computerized test of working memory).

It was found that the students who received the acupuncture had lower anxiety and improved working memory.

Acupuncture Can Be As Effective As Counselling In Treating Depression

A new study headed by Hugh MacPherson from the University of York in the UK, has found that people with depression may gain benefit from acupuncture to the same extent that they gain benefit from counseling.

Researchers found that one in three patients were no longer depressed after three months of acupuncture or counseling. One in five people, who received neither treatment, showed no signs of depression after three months.

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775 people suffering from moderate or severe depression were recruited for the study. 302 were randomly assigned to receive 12 weekly acupuncture sessions; 302 received weekly counseling sessions and 151 received usual care.

People did not have to stop taking their medicine in order to participate in the study. Approximately 70 percent of people had taken antidepressants in the three months before the study.

The average depression score, on a scale from 0 to 27 was 16 at the start of the study. 16 is considered moderately severe depression.

At the end of the study (after three months) people in the acupuncture group had an average score of approximately 9; the counseling group had an average score of about 11 and the usual care group had an average score of around 13. Nine is on the higher end of the mild depression category. Eleven and 13 are considered indicators of moderate depression.

Thus, the people who received acupuncture or counseling improved to greater extents over the course of the study than those who received no treatment.

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Previous studies that looked at depression and acupuncture have been inconclusive. “Clearly acupuncture is a new option,” MacPherson said.  “This is the first evidence that acupuncture really helps.” 

Summary

Acupuncture appears to hold a lot of promise for those suffering from anxiety and depression. If you or someone you love is suffering from anxiety or depression, then acupuncture may prove to be very beneficial. Given that these illnesses touch so many people it is comforting to know that acupuncture could bring hope and a new lease on life to many sufferers.

Always remember to consult your healthcare professional if you experience depression or anxiety symptoms.

Featured photo credit: hikrcn via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

Successful people “think” success all the time. That is why their goals are firmly lodged in their subconscious.

While most believe that having a long-term goal is crucial to success, successful people understand that without small, daily goals, you will get demotivated easily; success will in turn become hard.

In this article, we will look into the importance of setting daily goals and how to having daily goals that help you achieve success.

How to “think” success with your subconscious

The subconscious is brilliant at prioritizing. It listens to you and gauges from your thoughts what you think is the most important task. This means that what you think about most of the time is what the subconscious will think is the most important thing for you, and will try to find creative solutions.

If you think about problems, the subconscious will try to find you more problems. If you think about solutions, goals and dreams, it will try to make them come true.

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But the subconscious goes even further when trying to understand what you think is important; it “listens” to your feelings.

Luckily, it has been proven that a positive thought is over 100 times as positive as a negative thought. This makes it a lot easier to drive positive emotions into your subconscious.

How daily goals keep you positive

It is enough to be positive and keep your thoughts on what you want — and you don’t have to go monitoring your thoughts all the time.

It is enough to imbue your thoughts a few times a day with a powerful positive emotion when thinking about your goals. The more you can do it, the more powerful this exercise will be.

For many, reading their goals or making plans become a chore, something that fills them with negative emotions. This ruins the full potential of these activities; filling yourself with positive emotions while thinking about your goals will make them a lot more powerful.

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Over the last several years, I have been taught several exercises that can help you focus more on your goals and spend more time thinking about and feeling about them. What I want you to remember when doing these exercises is to have fun. Never see them as a chore, you are living your goals, it is something to enjoy.

If you don’t feel uplifted at the thought of focusing on your goals, you might as well not do the exercise today. Do it tomorrow instead because it will do more harm than good if you are in the wrong mood when thinking about your goals.

Why positive thoughts inspire you ideas

In my business, I constantly need to come up with new ways to improve efficiency, new ideas to test and new subjects to teach. It takes a lot of creative work — and creative work has always been one of my weaker areas.

Luckily, thanks to all my work with goal setting (and because of my focus on my goals), my subconscious knows these are the things I need the most help with and that they are very important to me.

Every day I get new ideas of things I can try out, products I can create, seminar subjects I can offer, and so on.  All of them aren’t good but when you throw enough “mud against the wall”, something will stick. And that is what my subconscious does — it feeds me idea after idea.

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How to set daily goals for yourself

This method is used by countless thousands around the world and for everyone who has tried it, the effects have been incredible:

  1. Each morning, take a pen and a piece of paper and write down your 10 top goals. Don’t look at the day before, just think about what you want to most and write them down.
  2. Remember to write them in the positive present tense and remember to set a deadline for each goal. Just like we did when setting your long term and short term goals. (For example you could set the goal “I make 10,000 dollars per month by the December 31 next year.”)
  3. Do this for all 10 goals.

In the beginning, writing down 10 goals might be difficult. Each day, they might look a bit different and some of the goals you write never come back again.

If you forget a goal, it is because it wasn’t all that important and something more important has taken its place.

What difference does it make?

By starting your day setting your 10 top goals, you jump-start your creativity — which will motivate you for the rest of the day. You will have programmed yourself to focus on your goals and to move towards them and their completion.

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What will happen to you?

If you do this, you will start to realize what is important to you. You’ll see what goals keep surfacing and what goals vanish.

You will know what you want and you will find yourself presented with opportunities that you haven’t noticed before.

You will be more creative in finding ideas and chances to make your dreams reality.

The bottom line

Having goals on a daily basis can change your life for the better. It will help you keep moving faster and faster towards your goals and dreams.

So now set your goals and make having daily goals your good habit:

  1. Buy a notebook and a pen at your local bookstore.
  2. Start writing down 10 goals every morning, without looking at the day before.
  3. Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and capitalize on them.
What’s next after setting your goals? While your routine is the key to achieving your goals, you can take these 6 simple steps to make progress towards achieving goals.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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