Postpartum Depression Is Very Real, Don’t Wait To Reach Out For Help

Natural Remedies For Depression In Bellmore, NY - Ni Nan Healing Art Center

What Is Postpartum Depression?

The arrival of a new baby brings with it a number of changes. During the first few months after the birth, it’s common for new mothers to experience a low-grade feeling of sadness or letdown, called the Baby Blues. However for some women, the feeling of sadness is deeper and more serious, and is known as a mood disorder, called postpartum depression.

About one in seven women experience postpartum depression. The symptoms may begin as feelings of sadness, worry, anxiety, and insomnia, coupled with and aggravated by fatigue. Over time and if unacknowledged and untreated, those symptoms may become worse, and appear as anger, frequent crying, appetite changes, physical achiness, social withdrawal, and even thoughts of self-harm.

The cause of postpartum depression is a combination of factors, but hormonal changes are in the forefront. During pregnancy, higher levels of estrogen and progesterone account for feelings of well-being and what some describe as a pregnancy glow. After childbirth, however, your body is rebalancing its hormonal levels, which may translate into a sudden drop that can flatten your mood. This can be especially disappointing during a time when the expectation is that you’ll be soaking in the happiness of your new baby.

Hormonal changes are compounded by the exhausting reality of caring for your new baby. Lack of sleep, the physical demands of nursing, and non-stop diaper changes and midnight feedings are a further drain on your body that has previously been sapped by pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

How Can Postpartum Depression Be Treated?

In Chinese medicine, the source of postpartum depression is most frequently due to a condition aptly called a depletion. In most cases, energy (or Qi) and blood are deficient. Your energy is low from months of being pregnant and nourishing your baby in utero, labor and delivery, and the exhausting care of a newborn. Blood depletion, while not considered to be anemia, means that the nourishing quality of your blood is low from blood loss during childbirth—whether it’s through labor and delivery or surgery.

Many new mothers struggling with postpartum depression have found that acupuncture is an effective treatment option for them, and research is bearing this out. In a 2018 analysis of studies on treating postpartum depression with acupuncture, researchers found that women treated with acupuncture showed significant decreases in depression than women who had no acupuncture. Scientists have also found that in the brain, acupuncture increases the circulation of feel-good neurotransmitters and helps to regulate hormone levels.

Beyond acupuncture, your practitioner of Chinese medicine may also incorporate dietary therapy and in some cases, an herbal formula to help rebuild depleted stores of Qi and Blood. A multi-pronged approach is helpful because while you may begin to feel better quickly, it can take several months to restore your body to complete health. Acupuncture plus Chinese medicine’s other healing tools can offer a gentle, safe, and effective treatment option.

Whether you choose acupuncture or traditional medical treatment, the bottom line is that postpartum depression is very real and has physical underpinnings. It’s not all in your head, nor does it mean that you’re not up to handling motherhood. If you’re struggling with postpartum depression, it’s important to reach out for help. Often, it doesn’t take much to begin to feel better. 

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People Who Are Struggling With Anxiety Have Been Turning To Acupuncture For Treatment

Natural Anxiety Relief In Bellmore, NY - Ni Nan Healing Art Center

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a part of our built-in survival mechanism. It’s appropriate to feel a certain amount of anxiousness when you’re driving in a snowstorm or giving a speech to a large group. However, if you’re anxious for no apparent reason, find anxiety is taking over your life, or experiencing panic attacks, your anxiety has gone from appropriate to being a problem.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, you’re not alone. Up to 30 percent of people worldwide suffer from anxiety. Symptoms may include a racing heart, shortness of breath, chest tightness, feeling lightheaded, numbness and tingling in your extremities, and a general feeling of fear. Extreme anxiety may trigger a panic attack, with the above symptoms, plus an overwhelming fear that you may be having a heart attack or dying right now. Panic attacks often seem to come out of nowhere, and are so frightening that most sufferers worry about having another.

Anxiety can be caused by traumatic events, overwhelming stress, or constant worry. In addition, physical factors, such as a hormonal imbalance, heart problems, or the side effects of certain medications may also trigger anxiety. Some experts speculate that anxiety may be genetic, as it tends to run in families.

Treatments For Anxiety

Standard medical treatment for anxiety includes talk therapy and the use of medications. Some doctors support self-treatment in the form of meditation, relaxation techniques, developing a support network, thought-stopping exercises, and physical activity.

A large number of people who are struggling with anxiety have turned to acupuncture for treatment. There is a great deal of research to support their decision. In a 2017 review of thirteen clinical and scientific studies, researchers determined that acupuncture was an effective treatment for anxiety; similar in effectiveness to talk therapy. This review included three studies in which subjects reported more improvement in their symptoms than control subjects who received medications for their anxiety.

From a Chinese perspective, anxiety may be diagnosed as an imbalance of the Heart, Kidney, or Spleen organ systems. Your Chinese Heart houses something called the Shen, which encompasses your consciousness, feelings, memory, and spirit. Disturbances of the Shen can result in anxiety. The emotional make-up of your Kidney system is deep-seated fear, and your Spleen is associated with worry—either of which can be an underlying cause of anxiety.

There are, however, very real and measurable physiological changes that occur as the result of acupuncture; changes that can account for acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating anxiety. Scientists have found that acupuncture increases the circulation of endorphins, which are feel-good neurotransmitters that improve your mood, regulate the stress response, lower blood pressure, enhance digestion, and decrease pain. In addition, acupuncture helps slow down your brain’s release of stress neurochemicals, and helps to balance the interplay of the stress hormones of cortisol, adrenalin, and insulin.

If you choose to treat your anxiety with acupuncture, your practitioner may combine their treatments with Chinese herbs, lifestyle changes, and something called auricular (or ear) acupuncture. Originally developed to treat addictions, auricular acupuncture has been found to be so effective in treating anxiety and mental health conditions that the Veterans Administration is using acupuncture for veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTSD).

The bottom line is that when it comes to treating anxiety, acupuncture can be an effective option. Your practitioner has a number of healing tools and strategies, and can individualize your treatment plan for the best results.

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