If days are dull and nights are too long, if not much seems to matter, the problem may be the lack of an essential process in the body—and the answer may be acupuncture.
Acupuncture involves tiny, disposable, sterile needles placed gently into specific points on the body to relieve pain or dysfunction and restore mental health. Flora Arzanipour, acupuncturist at Community Acupuncture in Munster, says the treatment can be effective for such mental disorders as stress, anxiety, depression—even such severe emotional and psychological disorders as hysteria, neurosis, schizophrenia, and others.
To understand why this simple procedure can be so effective for such a broad range of disorders, Arzanipour says one must understand Qi (pronounced chee). Qi is the vital energy in all living things, an energy derived from food, air and inherited constitution. Qi flows through the body as an invisible current, energizing, nourishing and supporting every cell, tissue, muscle, organ and gland. So Qi is necessary for growth, mental health, protection against illness and disease, and overall regulation of the body.
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that the body tends to be self-healing. That property is vigorous when Qi is flowing freely. When that’s not happening, the body, or parts of it, are said to be stagnant.
“There are vital pathways in the body, and the Qi runs through these pathways. If those pathways become stagnant, mental or physical disease can result,” says Arzanipour. “Depression, according to Chinese medicine, is a disease called long stagnation of the Qi, or fluid, in the body. Any stagnation in the body and internal organs can cause depression.”
Acupuncture is believed to break up that stagnation. Arzanipour says she uses it in conjunction with other healthful elements for the mind and body, such as talking with the patient about the problem; encouraging exercise, healthful eating, and spending some time in the sun; and ingesting an herbal formula of 15 or 16 ingredients based on Chinese medicine.
The liver is the most sensitive of all organs to emotional distress, says Arzanipour. “Especially for mental health, it’s very important that digestion works properly so you get nourishment from the food you eat.” Acupuncture clears away stagnation, allowing free flow of Qi.
Arzanipour says the production of such “feel-good” hormones like serotonin and peptides like endorphins can be blocked by stagnation. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary adds that acupuncture seems to activate endorphins. Traditional Chinese medicine says that’s because it clears the way for Qi to flow.
Inventor Thomas Edison declared that “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
It appears that health-care professionals of the present day, like Arzanipour, are taking the point seriously, in the practice of acupuncture.