Postpartum depression can be a mentally debilitating and physically draining condition. Feelings of worthlessness and sadness can become overwhelming, and the idea of relief without undesired or unknown side effects can seem like a true beacon of hope to women who suffer from postpartum depression. There are a variety of holistic treatments available, and one form of natural treatment that has withstood the test of time is acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a Chinese practice that dates back thousands of years. An acupuncturist will typically study a person’s body and listen to their symptoms. This will enable the acupuncturist to get an idea of how much a person’s illness outweighs their energy - also known as Chi. The goal for an acupuncturist is to achieve a balance between condition/dormancy and energy, which is done through the use of very thin needles. Acupuncture needles are about the thickness of a hair and are inserted into key areas of the skin to help relieve pressure and achieve a balance within the body.
The basic idea behind acupuncture is that Chi (life-energy) and the elements (wood, fire, water, metal, and earth) should achieve a balance. Chi is thought to flow throughout the body via meridians, or paths. The placement of acupuncture needles is heavily reliant upon the location of the meridians and those that particularly correspond to the symptoms that the patient is suffering. Regular acupuncture sessions are thought to stimulate the body’s flow of energy, helping to relieve the symptoms that were initially caused by an imbalance of energy.
Studies have shown that acupuncture is extremely beneficial in addressing emotional symptoms, and a safe, drug-free effective treatment against depression. With postpartum depression, acupuncture can be exceptionally helpful because many cases of PPD are exacerbated by insomnia or frequent sleep interruptions, which plague many mothers due to frequent night-time feedings and exhaustion throughout the day.
The outcome of acupuncture is an increase in energy levels that not only puts the body back into the ideal chi/elemental balance, but in many it also produces a noticeable difference in physical and useable energy. When a mom’s body has more energy to work with, she is less likely to succumb to the mental and physical demands of motherhood. Some of the effects of acupuncture, such as increased blood flow and the stimulation of neurotransmitter release, can also have a positive effect in treating postpartum depression.
The type of acupuncture administered to women who suffer from postpartum depression is considered “corrective care” because the initial set of treatments (usually somewhere between 12 to 18 sessions) will yield a long-lasting and noticeable improvement in the condition. If depression returns, then the treatment type may fall into the “relief” category and require sessions to resume whenever symptoms begin to return.
The health information in this website is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.
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"No mother has to suffer from PPD needlessly. This is a fact. But until you know what you're up against, you'll still be trapped - without knowing why! A typical example is the common misconception that depression is "all just in the mind." Your first step is to keep an open mind; and allow Laura to take you by the hand and guide you step by step through the PPD universe. Using a "wellness" approach, and with her usual friendly and informative style, trust me, she can help you help yourself getting out of the rut - naturally - in no time."
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Sydney Z. Spiesel, Ph DMD Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine
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