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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Acupuncture: Pain, Depression And Anxiety

Oct 01, 2014 08:41AM
by Dr. Craig D. Sanford

Today approximately one in five Americans take at least one psychiatric medication. Many clinical trials have shown little difference between placeboes and anti-depression medications. Individuals with anxiety have been no more than sedated rather then helped by medications, while the rampant use of medications for chronic pain has resulted in a mass wave of addiction. In fact, in Europe the first choice of many physicians is a more natural route with acupuncture playing a major role. So why would acupuncture be of a benefit and what is the physiological mechanism that can give one relief from the symptoms of pain, anxiety and depression? Just as a side note, acupuncture was discovered and has been in use for 4000 to 5000 years. That’s quite a track record of longevity in itself. To better understand how acupuncture works, one needs to have to understand the two greatest balancing systems of the body, the Parasympathetic and the Sympathetic systems. This could also be compared to the yin and the yang of Oriental medicine. Your sympathetics are when you are active and moving about, like exercising. If you were to drink too much caffeine, you could over stimulate your sympathetic system and become anxious and have heart palpitations. Your parasympathetic system works just the opposite. With the parasympathetics in overdrive, you may become too relaxed and possibly have loss of motivation—even depression. Acupuncture has the unique ability to bring the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems into balance, which has a positive effect on pain, anxiety and depression. There is also the release of endorphins leaving some patients in a near-euphoric state. Treatment is further enhanced by stimulating a specific acupuncture point related to the individual patient’s complaints and symptomatology. If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the above symptoms, acupuncture can provide time-tested relief without the negative side effects of medications. Many patients have been pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of this treat.

Dr. Craig Sanford has been practicing for 26 years and has practices in McLean and Woodbridge, Virginia. To learn more about him, visit


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