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acupuncture, chinese meds. & depression ???

Posted by dj on September 9, 1999, at 10:02:12

Anyone out there done any work with any of the above in relation to depression and had any successes and if so with what???? I'm expermenting with both right now but my Psych. cautioned me about the Chinese meds. which are unregulated -- anyone out there with any experience please discuss..

Following are a couple of interesting excerpts on the issue:


The United Nations World Health Organization endorses acupuncture as a treatment for depression. At the University of Arizona, John J. Allen, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology studied 34 women diagnosed with major depression who were not being treated with antidepressant medication. One-third met with the researchers but received no acupuncture. The second received acupuncture, but not on points recommended for treating depression. The third received acupuncture on the depression points. Compared with the two control groups, the women receiving acupuncture on the depression points showed significantly greater mood elevation.

Source: Steefel, L. "Treating Depression," Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 1-96, 1-4. " Emotions and Mental Disease

"The Emotions and Mental Disease
Traditional Chinese medicine considers that the emotions are governed by individual organs. They do not consider the brain, or subconscious, as discrete entities, therefore the body and the mind are a real part of the same functional system. Each organ is given a particular emotion; for instance, the liver is said to be the organ affected by anger. The concept that emotional functions are completely tied in with physical ones is deeply rooted in Chinese culture. In China there is less 'mental disease' as we know it in the West, because the neurotic is considered to have a disease of the liver or spleen, rather than anxiety or depression. Perhaps this explains the fallacious claim that 'no mental disease exists in China'. In my experience, having worked in a Chinese hospital, the Chinese are just as prone to neurosis as we are in the West.

There are great advantages in seeing mental functions in this way because, instead of being labeled a depressive, the patient feels that the liver is playing up and therefore perceives the disease in a different context. In the West a depressive may still be stigmatized and considered weak because he, or she, is unable to cope. In China this is not so because the cultural history and social context of mental disease is different, the depressed patient being made to feel that the disease is real and organic, rather than imagined. In spite of the constructive efforts of those who work in the field of mental health in Western nations, the body and the mind are generally still considered to be separate, and those who are unable to keep the mind under control are thought, by some, to have failed.

In acupuncture, the Chinese have a method of effectively treating a proportion of mental disease, which therefore has not been considered incurable, and there has been no necessity to shut all sufferers away in institutions. In the West most of those who are working within the area of mental disease are dealing with diseases that are poorly understood. As a general rule the level of understanding in any area of human knowledge can be judged by the number of theories that are used to explain a single phenomenon. If there is one theory that seems to explain all the facts, for a given observation, then it is probably correct. If many ideas are used to explain the same set of facts then it is likely that most of them are, at best half truths. At present the field of mental health embraces a large number of theories which are used to give opposing explanations for the same basic facts.

Without a defined idea of the origin of disease, treatment is difficult, therefore a wide variety of poorly understood treatment methods are used in mental disease, such as electroconvulsive therapy. Perhaps the lack of social stigma attached to mental disease in China is because there has been some form of consistent explanation, and treatment, for this type of problem for the last 2,000 years. The area of mental disease is particularly interesting as I am sure that there is as much mental disease in China, if not more, than in the United Kingdom, but it would seem that the cultural and medical heritage of the Chinese people has allowed them to deal with it in a different manner from that in the West, and possibly more effectively."




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