Acupuncture Enables a Person to Let Go of the Past
Depression is considered a mental condition although, for some, it may seem just a typical natural type of emotion. It can be a complex and deep sadness that causes one to question his/her purpose in living. Depression is experienced by each person in different ways; however, conventional Western medicine provides a one-size-fits-all type of treatment for this condition, usually in the form of antidepressant drugs. This is partly due to the fact that the diagnosis of depression makes it seem like the condition is permanent with the likelihood for change almost impossible to achieve. However, individuals who have this condition usually experience elaborate feelings that are difficult to put into words which indicate that there is more to depression than the ball and chains, down-in-the dumps feeling that Western medicine perceives it to be and wants us to accept.
The use of acupuncture in the treatment of a health condition requires a thorough understanding of the constitution of the patient. A patient is more than his/her depression. He/she may be suffering from other problems that may be connected to an immune dysfunction, fatigue, pain, or digestion. The patient may have a parent who is often critical, or he/she may be caring and worried about a sick child, or may have job that is extremely stressing. What may have worked for a patient a week ago may not be what he/she needs today. Emotions and feelings flow and ebb like the tides of the ocean; this is the case in acupuncture treatment, as well. Certain factors need to be considered when planning for a customized plan of treatment that will, in due time, help a patient overcome the darkness and heaviness that comes with his/her condition.
The ancient practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture have seen that diseases in human physiology and psychology can be treated with principles observed in Nature. The universe and our own bodies are comprised of the elements of Wood, Metal, Water, Earth and Fire. These substances are known as hydrogen, oxygen and carbon in the West. We are miniature images of the macrocosm, made up of the same elements and atoms that rivers, trees and stars are made out of.
Noticing the natural patterns that occur in our environment provides us with insight into the patterns of depression. We can, for example, reminisce a time when we noticed embers in a fire place jumping around from one piece of wood to another. This characteristic of fire is one aspect of the fire nature in us where we seek to establish relationships with other people. We reach by various means and gestures including eye contact or connecting and becoming a member of a certain group sharing the same interest and needs. When this fire characteristic is deficient, one of the tell-tale signs of its deficiency can be seen in the person’s eyes. They may be drawn, probably trying to mask the true state of the person. The person also tends to look away and try to avoid eye contact, or his/her eyes are always off to the side where they cannot be seen. When a person suffers from fire deficiency, he/she suffers from a depression that is marked by indifference, separateness, a feeling of being unloved, and isolation.
The pattern of fire deficiency is entirely distinct from a person suffering from an imbalance in metal. Autumn and metal are associated with each other. Autumn is the time of the year when nature lets go. The plant and tree roots are no longer required to sustain the growth of flowers and fruits and instead save their energy to be able to survive winter. Leaves transform colors and fall away. We need to experience changes in our life, as well. There are times when new projects or relationships arise that enable us to grow once more. There are also times when we need to discard things that are no longer useful to us. A person who clings to the past grieves for what has long disappeared in his/her life. This person’s energy is focused on the past which leaves him/her feeling all depleted and lost. It is a natural experience to cling to the past especially when one is holding on to something precious. However, if we want to experience the fullness of life once more, we need to let the seasonal cycles in our life flow.
The therapy of acupuncture can help maintain this natural cycle. It helps open the gates between the channels of energy in the body. Like a river that has been cleared of obstructions, the flow of energy returns to its normal flow with acupuncture. Certain acupoints are treated to either enable movement or slow down the flow of energy. The smooth flow of energy in the body allows a person to feel strong enough to let go with as little pain as possible and he/she then becomes aware that it is the proper time to do so. If a person is fire deficient, certain acupoints are treated to boost the internal fire. Thus, no longer is it necessary for a person to seek warmth from others and he/she may be strong enough to refuse comfort from others as well. When balance is attained, the person can experience joy (fire) once more and be able to radiate that warmth to others.
Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.