Although the exact cause of postpartum depression is not known, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) does have a few different view points on the matter. Three main factors are believed to be the driving force behind this condition:
These factors can occur either singularly or simultaneously in conjunction with each other. Each woman can be different, and the ability to focus the treatment according to each person’s specific and individual needs is what makes TCM is so effective. This is important when dealing with the myriad of possible symptoms that are associated with post-partum depression: sadness, depression, laughing or crying for no apparent reason, inability to calm down, chest oppression, shakiness, possible loss of consciousness, and in severe cases hallucinations.
The benefits of using acupuncture as a complimentary therapy when treating psychological disorders is scientifically proven. It naturally increases the release of ACTH, beta-endorphins, serotonin, and noradrenaline. These are all hormones released by the central nervous system (CNS) in order to help a person feel good and allow them to properly cope with their stress.
A Stanford University study demonstrated that of those women who suffered from depression during pregnancy, and received acupuncture treatments specifically to treat their depression, 69 percent showed improvements and 86 percent stayed symptom free 10 weeks post partum.
An additional benefit to receiving acupuncture in the treatment of postpartum depression is that acupuncture works with the body’s natural chemistry and therefore does not interfere with lactation by entering the blood stream. This means that women who are breastfeeding do not need to worry about chemicals entering the breast milk.
It is important to note that in addition to receiving acupuncture as a treatment option, a woman suffering from postpartum depression should remain in contact with her family doctor, psychotherapist, and any other support network she may have.
Christina Pistotnik is a Holistic Health Practitioner as well as a registered Acupuncturist. Christina practices acupuncture at Whole Family Health and can be reached by calling 780-756-7736, or contact her via our websites www.pregnancyhealth.ca or www.wholefamilyhealth.ca
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