RE­LIEV­ING STRESS, ANX­I­ETY & DE­PRES­SION NAT­U­RALLY

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Ev­ery day in our clinic we see many peo­ple suf­fer­ing from men­tal and emo­tional prob­lems. It does seem that our busy mod­ern life­style places in­cred­i­bly high de­mands on our psy­cho­log­i­cal well­be­ing. This is cer­tainly not con­fined to one par­tic­u­lar group of peo­ple. In just one morn­ing last month I treated a 15 year old girl, a prop­erty de­vel­oper in his late 20s, an ex-foot­baller in his 50s and a 72 year old grand­mother, all for vary­ing de­grees of anx­i­ety. For these pa­tients, al­though con­ven­tional ther­a­pies such as coun­selling, psy­chol­ogy and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal med­i­ca­tion had been ben­e­fi­cial, it had not pro­vided any deep, last­ing relief.

One of the most beau­ti­ful as­pects of the Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine (TCM) ap­proach is that it makes no real distinc­tion be­tween psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal symp­toms. It un­der­stands that if the phys­i­cal body is in dishar­mony, then there will be cor­re­spond­ing emo­tional im­bal­ance and vice versa. What this means for some­one suf­fer­ing from stress, anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion (SAD), is that a skilled TCM prac­ti­tioner can iden­tify the un­der­ly­ing bod­ily dys­func­tions and treat men­tal health is­sues through phys­i­cal means, such as herbal medicine, mas­sage and acupunc­ture. Es­pe­cially when com­bined with a med­i­ta­tion prac­tice and Qi Gong ex­er­cises, this is a very pow­er­ful way to re­gain a peace­ful, happy and calm mind state.

West­ern med­i­cal science is be­gin­ning to recog­nise these body/ mind con­nec­tions that an­cient Chi­nese physi­cians doc­u­mented over 2000 years ago. Re­cently, at a fas­ci­nat­ing work­shop with celebrity scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, he dis­cussed the lat­est re­search which showed that over 80% of the “brain chem­i­cals” sero­tonin and dopamine are made by bac­te­ria in the gut. This starts to ex­plain why for many pa­tients with SAD, the TCM so­lu­tion of strength­en­ing the di­ges­tive sys­tem is so ef­fec­tive.

For other peo­ple, such as the teenager men­tioned ear­lier, the main dishar­mony is in what we de­scribe in TCM as the “Blood sys­tem”. This is a com­mon is­sue for many women, of­ten af­ter a his­tory of heavy men­strual pe­ri­ods, or post child birth and breast feed­ing, all of which tax the Blood. They present with symp­toms such as fa­tigue, dizzi­ness, and poor sleep as well as anx­i­ety and emo­tional up­set. This is def­i­nitely not a situation that you can just “think your way out of”! The so­lu­tion is to pro­vide the body with suf­fi­cient nour­ish­ment that the emo­tions can set­tle nat­u­rally. If the diet is not rich enough in “Blood build­ing” foods, then a course of TCM herbs can help tremen­dously.

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