AN APPROACH TO TREATING MENTAL HEALTH USING ACUPUNCTURE
with Becky Martin
Acupuncture has the ability to access the body’s nervous system, creating a balance between the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, activating the parasympathetic nervous system and creating a balance with an over activated sympathetic nervous system response. This is a fantastic tool because, although sessions often do involve some talking therapy, it doesn’t have to, which allows the client to just receive a treatment and get a physiological response without having to do the work. Because let’s face it, it’s hard to do this work and sometimes when the nervous system is fired up, it can be really hard to work through things. Or maybe someone isn’t as emotionally attuned to what they are feeling and why.
One of the greatest things about acupuncture (and also a downfall of psychology) is that sometimes when a person is in a great deal of stress or trauma, talking, sharing is sometimes not possible, so Acupuncture is a good tool because it can access the bodies nervous system, creating a balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system without the client having to go over a traumatic event. I’m not saying that is for everyone, however, it may be helpful in part of the process of unravelling. I believe that acupuncture will work best when done in conjunction with psychology, lifestyle adjustments, adequate sleep, exercise, proper diet, social interactions. We really need to look at it from all angles to have a lasting impact on someone’s mental health.
Acupuncture has been shown to be a helpful tool to assist with mental health imbalances such as stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD.
How acupuncture fits into the framework – a logical explanation
- Acupuncture is a great tool because it creates a balance between the HPA axis – creating a balance between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system, restoring harmony and balance in the mind and body.
- Releases feel good hormones.
- Also great because it allows access into the nervous system without the participant/ client having to do any work or talk, share the reason for their emotional pain/ stress, they can just go to receive, although they are always welcome to share if they like, and some details can be helpful
Acupuncture as an integrative therapy, not a solve all therapy
- Not saying just acupuncture alone, this is just one of the many things that can help to improve mental health. Need to address all the things – psychological, security, housing, social aspect, relationship (family, friends, lover), exercise, diet, nutritional, hormonal, etc. It is one of the pieces of the puzzle that can have a huge impact on the mental health.
- To remain balanced and happy, often individuals will need to actually put effort in. Not enough sleep, eating badly, just ended a relationship, couldn’t make that yoga class. It throws us out and we start to feel unbalanced, stressed, reactive, anxious, flat, bored, unmotivated.
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in awareness of mental health and it’s profound impact on an individual’s general well-being and overall quality of life. This shift has led to a growing recognition of the need for an integrative approach that considers psychological, physiological, nutritional and lifestyle and dietary considerations. A holistic approach not only addresses many different aspects of health. For some, it may be purely talking therapy, whereas for others, they may not be ready to delve into past traumas. That’s where acupuncture can come in as an important part of the mental health plan.
Becky Martin is a registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner who has been practicing since 2013. Over this time she has developed a passion for treating mental health conditions and has always been fascinated by how the brain functions, our emotions, human behaviour, sleep, and dreams. She is passionate about helping people move through periods of stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction. Bec has delved into psychology and has done postgraduate studies in acupuncture for mental health and is continuously striving to gain more knowledge in this field.
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