Can acupuncture help with Seasonal Affective Disorder?
If you’re anything like me, you probably feel a little gloomier at this time of year. As August slips into September, there’s a real sense that summer is at an end and autumn is just over the horizon.
As the names of the months lengthen, so the days shorten. For most of us, that just requires a short period of adjustment as we come to terms with different routines and a different mindset.
But for many people, the autumn and winter months are really challenging emotionally.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that affects a lot of people during the darker months of the year and many of those who experience it have difficulty sleeping well and feel emotionally listless or detached. As a result daily energy levels and productivity crash.
In fact, many people describe SAD as being like having a portable black cloud over their head and it’s a condition that can manifest in all sorts of different ways – with mood swings, aloofness, a lack of tolerance and lethargy all very common symptoms.
In 2020 the chances are that SAD will be felt even more acutely – especially if the colder and damper weather brings with it a spike in Covid-19 that prompts further periods of social distancing which will inevitably prevent us from leading ‘normal’ lives.
As its name suggests, SAD is a mildly depressive disorder triggered by changes in season when there is a marked difference in the weather and number of daylight hours – but acupuncture can help to relieve it.
As we begin the transition into autumn, it’s worth considering acupuncture as a complementary treatment to combat the mood changes that temporal changes can bring – especially if you are already susceptible to SAD or depression, anxiety or stress.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that helps to rebalance and reset the natural life energy we all have. This energy is called qi (pronounced ‘chee’) and it is the force that determines and influences our emotional, mental and physical health.
When our natural energy pathways become blocked, this can trigger additional emotional and mental responses that, in turn, can be the source of physical health issues.
So, as an example, if you suffer from SAD – or if the events of 2020 have affected your emotional and mental health and left you feeling fragile – then the sense of creeping depression that often happens when the clocks go back can lead to loss of sleep, a reduction in the efficiency of your immune system, lethargy and more.
Acupuncture uses super-fine and specially-designed needles that are placed under the skin at strategic points on the body and they help to unblock the energy pathways that become a barrier to good mental and physical health.
This unblocking of our natural energy helps to treat the underlying emotional issues relating to SAD but because it addresses the body holistically (in other words, as a whole) it also helps to treat many other conditions in addition to the problem or issue that is triggering the patient’s symptoms.
Science shows that the needles also stimulate the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural ‘happy’ chemicals that help you to become more positive about life and your place in it.
It’s this holistic approach that is the real secret to the power of acupuncture because while other health approaches – and particularly clinical care that you might receive from your GP or a hospital – focus on symptom management (or suppression), acupuncture treats the underlying issues as well as the symptoms that a patient is presenting with.
So, you may attend an acupuncture consultation because you’re experiencing stress or have regular headaches or, if you’re a woman, may be struggling with female health issues, but in principle the way in which acupuncture approaches the treatment of that issue is the same as the approach it takes to treat any other issue.
Many patients therefore have acupuncture for one issue but report feeling better in many other ways as well.
So, if you suffer from SAD or are unusually affected by a change in the seasons, maybe acupuncture could be the option you hadn’t considered in finding a solution to your problem.
Why not get in touch with us and see how we can help you to find the best possible help and resilience to deal with whatever the rest of 2020 and early 2021 will bring?