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According to MedlinePlus Medical Dictionary, acupuncture is defined as “an originally Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points especially to cure disease or relieve pain.” It is a form of Asian medicine and alternative therapy which can treat physical, mental, and emotional conditions. Depression, alcoholism, and anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the mental illnesses treated by acupuncture. This treatments can last for five to 30 minutes. The patient is often treated once or twice a week. After the first treatment, it is possible for relievement of some symptoms. Multiple treatments are often needed for more severe or chronic ailments. An acupuncturist concentrates on certain areas of the body for the emotional and physical effects of mental health disorders.
In Asian medicine, elements and organs are associated with certain mental and emotional states. Wood (Liver) is associated with anger, jealousy, frustration, resentment, bitterness and stress. For the Heart, fire is associated with mania and over-excitation. The element earth (Spleen) correlates with anxiety, pensiveness and worry. Metal (Lung) is for grief and sadness. Water (Kidney) represents depression and lack of will. Needles will be placed on areas that correlates with these mental and emotional states. This information is built on the basic foundation of Asian medicine which includes the life energy called Qi (pronounced chee) that flows through the body within channels known as meridians. These channels connect all of our major organs. Chinese medical theory dictates that illness arises when Qi flows become unbalanced. Acupuncture stimulates these areas.
No treatment is the same for the patient because each patient receives a customized treatment plan. This often includes different acupuncture points, different herbs and different lifestyle and diet recommendations. Some precautions must be taken before beginning treatments. First, the patient must check health insurances to see if acupuncture is covered . Second, all medical conditions, current treatments or medications must be reported to the acupuncturist. Third, do not rely on a diagnosis from an acupuncture practitioner unless they have substantial conventional medical training. Ask your doctor to see if acupuncture will be helpful.

Acupuncture was originally published on | Redefining Mental Health


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