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May isn’t just a time to celebrate spring – it also marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to understanding mood balance and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues. With at least one in five American adults living with mental health issues, finding healthy ways to cope is crucial to overcoming these challenges and living a fulfilling life. 

But for many, finding balance isn’t always easy. If you’re someone who is affected by mental health issues like depression, grief, and other mood imbalances, acupuncture for depression offers a unique way to restore your emotional balance. 

Blue Moods: The Impact of Mental Health

Feeling low is part of living a normal human life. And while these feelings are universal, how we experience them is personal and unique to each of us. Understanding why these changes in our mood happen is the first step to paving a brighter path forward. 

Depression: A Deeper Look

Depression is much more than occasional sadness; it is a pervasive condition that can influence our emotions, thoughts, and even physical health. Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness, numbness, and loss of interest in what we used to enjoy. It can make everyday activities feel impossible. 

The root causes of depression vary widely, and can be related to genetics, biochemistry, the environment, or psychology. Physically, depression can show up as exhaustion, disrupted sleep, changes in appetite, and low concentration. These symptoms create a feedback loop which unfortunately exacerbates the mental symptoms and can lead to even more challenges with work, school, and relationships.

Grief: A Deeper Look 

Grief is an intense and complex response to a loss. While grief is most commonly associated with the death of a loved one, it can also manifest after losing something else we felt close or bonded to – a home, a job, a relationship, an opportunity, a dream. 

Like depression, grief also manifests itself physically and can be at the root of issues like pain, fatigue, insomnia, and brain fog.

Mind and Body in Mental Health 

The link between these “blue moods” and physical health is undeniable. Studies show that unmanaged depression, grief, and chronic stress can weaken the body’s defenses. Issues like low immunity, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation are commonly found in those struggling with persistent mental health conditions. 

The silver lining is that because the mind and body are intertwined in these conditions, we can use both mental and physical healing therapies (like exercise, acupuncture, and breathing techniques) to return to a state of harmony and balance.

Oriental Medicine’s Perspective on Mental Health 

With treatment options like therapy and medications, why take an Oriental medicine approach to mental well-being? Because Oriental medicine doesn’t view health issues – whether mental or physical – as separate symptoms or diseases. Everything is connected and impacts our overall well-being. 

As Dr. Ko explains, “Modern western medicine cannot treat these emotional disorders. In Western medicine, if you take mental medication, you get better, but if you don’t take them, it gets worse, which is a temporary treatment. In the long term, these drugs make the condition worse. Our emotions are very natural. Therefore, when treating, it is most important to treat it naturally and not artificially.”

Acupuncture and Emotions

When it comes to managing mental health issues in Oriental Medicine, the focus is on the balance and flow of energy, or Qi, throughout the body. Grief, depression, and other emotional disorders are often seen as imbalances in the flow of Qi between organ systems, a lack of Qi in an organ system, or stuck Qi in an organ system.

“From the perspective of Oriental Medicine,” says Dr. Ko, “these emotional disorders are caused by our body’s balance being broken. The organs of our body face each other and maintain balance. For example, the heart controls our brain. When the balance of the body is broken and the heart becomes weak, it becomes unable to control the brain. Oriental medicine is the only treatment that balances the body and controls the brain.”

To illustrate this, in Oriental medicine, each “negative” emotion is closely linked to a specific internal organ system: 

  • Grief and sadness is linked to the lungs.
  • Fear is linked to the kidneys.
  • Anger or irritability is linked to the liver.
  • Worry and anxiety is linked to the spleen.
  • Mania is linked to the heart. 

While experiencing each of these emotions is part of life, when these emotions become overwhelming or prolonged, they can disrupt the harmony and lead to physical and emotional symptoms. 

Oriental medicine can help by restoring the balance and healthy flow of Qi in these organ systems so we experience the healthy emotions related to each organ system: 

  • Openness is linked to the lungs.
  • Will is linked to the kidneys.
  • Motivation is linked to the liver.
  • Thoughtfulness is linked to the spleen.
  • Joy is linked to the heart. 

How Does Acupuncture Help with Emotional Healing?

Acupuncture is one of the most direct and effective ways to restore a healthy flow of Qi – and the body’s physical and emotional balance. It works by stimulating specific points on the body that are like strategic gateways to the flow of Qi. 

In terms of mental health, acupuncture helps us address the underlying imbalances that cause common mental health issues such as grief or depression. Let’s take a closer look at how acupuncture helps us achieve a healthier mental and emotional balance: 

Benefits of Acupuncture for Emotional Well-being

  • Acupuncture Regulates Emotional Health
    Acupuncture has been shown to modulate the nervous system. This means it can influence the production of mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and endorphins. This regulation can help stabilize mood swings and improve overall emotional responsiveness, providing a natural way to manage anxiety, depression, and grief.

  • Acupuncture Reduces Stress
    Chronic stress is a common underlying factor in both depression and grief. Acupuncture helps to calm the mind and body which reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol. This relaxation helps us enjoy more peaceful experiences and build stronger resilience to cope with life’s daily pressures.

  • Acupuncture Improves Sleep
    Disrupted sleep patterns are common in those who struggle with mental health challenges. Thankfully, acupuncture has been shown to improve the quality and duration of sleep by helping to soothe the nervous system and decrease anxiety (which often interferes with restful sleep). Better sleep not only helps one feel more rested but also enhances the body’s ability to cope with emotional shifts.

  • Acupuncture Enhances Overall Well-being
    Did you know that beyond targeting specific emotional issues, acupuncture can also help us feel more balanced, happy, and alive? Acupuncture promotes an overall sense of well-being by supporting the body’s organ systems, encouraging healthy blood circulation, improving digestion, and releasing feel-good hormones. 


Enjoy Brighter Days Ahead with 120 Acupuncture Clinic

Whether you experience occasional blue moods, are navigating grief, or want to overcome depression, acupuncture can be a powerful mind-body tool. By interacting with both the physical and emotional root causes of these mental health challenges, acupuncture restores your mood balance and rebuilds your resilience to the ups and downs of life. 

Ready to get the support you deserve? Dr. Ko and the team at 120 Acupuncture Clinic in Studio City, Los Angeles are here to help you reclaim your energy, peace, and joy naturally. Book your appointment today, or call us at 1-818-980-7979 to get started. 

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