Acupuncture Ecology

Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

If you’re enduring the invisible injuries of mental and emotional illness,

or if you simply “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,”

there’s a natural, safe, effective, and drug-free alternative.


Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be part of the solution, by helping you manage your inner imbalances, and by enhancing and accelerating your healing.



Understanding the Problem

The Scope.

Did you know that, according to the National Institute of Mental Health 1:

  • Clinical depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for ages 15 to 44.
  • Depression affects 6.7% of the adult population, or approximately 14.8 million people.
  • Anxiety affects 18.1% of adults in the U.S., or 40 million people.
  • About 1 in 4 Americans will suffer a serious mental disorder in their lifetime.


The Impact.

The cost of dealing with the rising tide of mental and emotional imbalances is high. A U.S. Surgeon General’s report in 1999 found that lost productivity and absenteeism due to untreated mental health disorders cost American businesses $70 billion annually. 2 Anxiety disorders alone cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year. 3

But the impacts are more than merely economic.

Dr. Frederick Goodwin, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said that among major diseases, clinical depression ranks second only to advanced coronary heart disease in the total number of days patients spend in the hospital or disabled at home. “Major depression is far more disabling than many medical disorders, including chronic lung disease, arthritis and diabetes,” he said. 4

And, according to a World Health Organization study,

No individual chronic disease—not angina, not arthritis, not asthma, not diabetes—is more disabling than depression. 5

And yet, no chronic disease is taken less seriously than depression, because nothing appears to be wrong. There’s no physical limitation or pain, no lab tests to point at, no numbers that are abnormal. There’s just your own complaint of your well-being.

The stigma has led sports figures and celebrities to hide their condition and doctors to self-prescribe. And health insurance companies often limit treatment or reimburse treatment for mental illnesses at lower rates than they do for physical illnesses.

The breadth and severity of mental disorders like depression constitutes nothing less than an epidemic, albeit a silent epidemic.

Yet, the lack of gravity with which they’re treated, and problems with drugs that are prescribed to treat the symptoms without addressing the cause, amount to a massive effort to sweep the problem under the rug.

We need a better approach.


Balancing the Mind and Heart: A Chinese Medicine Approach

The Philosophy.

The beauty of Chinese medicine is in its ability to see you as more than just a label, and to allow yourself the experience of being more than just your illness.

Why is this important? Because the adequate handling of mental and emotional imbalances is rooted in a respect for the subtle facets of your being. And this is where our friends, employers, therapists, and doctors either get it—or they don’t.

Mental illness appears to be hidden, because there are no lab tests that can be run that tell you you’re depressed.

But Chinese medicine is based on the perception of the subtle. Small things are important. Little things count.

Your feelings, no matter how subtle, are clinically significant. And understanding this is the first step to management and cure of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Even if no one else thinks you’re sick—even if nobody believes you—if it’s significant enough to affect you, if it’s significant enough that you notice, then it’s significant enough to matter.

What can Chinese medicine offer, to build on this foundation?


Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

The first thing that a Chinese medical paradigm can offer is a more complete understanding of your mental, emotional, and physical state.

Mind, body, and spirit are inseparable in Chinese medicine. What you eat affects how you think; how you feel affects how you move. Chinese medicine provides an excellent framework to go in-depth into the details of your daily life, your mind and behavior, to arrive at a better understanding of where you are and how you got this way.

Specific tools such as Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis® (a unique specialty of Acupuncture Ecology) give an even more comprehensive view into the balance and functioning of your being.

Beyond this, the treatment methods used in Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, herbs, and vitality exercises, can balance the body’s energy to relieve stress and harmonize the disordered.

The deep observation and understanding of your being is coupled with gentle but effective approaches to guide your body and your mind back into a healthy state.

I’ll be straight with you. With something as deep and complicated as the mind, no one approach can work for everybody. The addition of acupuncture and Chinese medicine can profoundly accelerate your healing, but much will depend on the specific details of what’s going on with you.

What is certain is that Chinese medicine employs natural methods, not drugs; and that it works to heal the root, rather than cover up symptoms. The goal is permanent healing, not a lifetime of being a patient.


Contact me to make an appointment for a free consultation. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss your concerns.


1 National Institute of Mental Health. The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. 2008. Available from
2 Widmer, Lori. A not-so-hidden workplace cost: employers bear the costs of depression, stress, and other mental illnesses in the form of lost productivity, absenteeism, and higher disability costs. Accessed 8/7/2009. Available from
3 Statistics and Facts About Anxiety Disorders. Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Accessed 8/7/2009. Available from
4 Goleman, Daniel. Costs of depression are on par with heart disease, a study says. New York Times, December 3, 1993. Accessed 8/7/2009. Available from
5 Groch, Judith. Depression eclipses other chronic disease for poor health status. MedPage Today, September 7, 2007. Accessed 8/7/2009. Available from