Yin, Yang, and Riding the Tides of Anxiety & Depression

There is a wide spectrum of emotional and mental health dis-eases, often many of them go hand in hand. And it can be hard to separate what is what. Am I feeling depressed or just tired? Am I anxious or over-stressed? Am I disconnected from my body or have I just had too much screen time? Am I all of these things combined?

Many times, emotional and mental health conditions feel like riding extremely volatile waves, both up and down. The highs are very high, and the lows are very low. Acupuncture and herbal medicine helps invite the nervous system into balance and regulation in the body. In other words, it makes the waves less extreme and makes it easier for our bodies and minds to ride them.

How Our Nervous System Creates the Waves

Our nervous systems are composed of two opposing yet synergistic mechanisms. The sympathetic (fight or flight or freeze) and the parasympathetic (rest and digest). When these two systems are balanced and working together in the body, we are able to both function and find rest in our daily life. Realistically, perfect balance between the two is often hard to achieve, especially in our fast-paced and overstimulated society. When people are suffering from a mental health issue, oftentimes their nervous systems are stuck in one extreme mode: fight/flight, or shut down. This creates feelings of stasis, panic, fear, confusion, chaos, loss, numbness, and cycles of shame and guilt.

We need both aspects of our nervous system to work in harmony. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is based on the ancient concept of balancing yin (parasympathetic) and yang (sympathetic) in the body. When the two “energies” or nervous systems can mutually function together, we are more able to feel healthy and at ease.

How It Shows Up In Our Bodies

When someone is very anxious or stressed for example, they might have feelings of rapid heart rate, sweat, jitteriness, ruminating/obsessive thoughts, lack of clarity, body tension or disconnection from body. This is a sign that their nervous system is stuck on high and is taking over. In other words, the yang (sympathetic) is flaring out of control, and we need to activate some yin (parasympathetic) to help put out the fire.

On the other hand, some people suffering from depression may need help unlocking their yang (sympathetic) energy to help them function throughout their day. And many times, people are experiencing a combination of things all at once. Whatever your presentation, it is our job to bring things back into right relationship, to balance yin and yang.

How East Asian Medicine Understands Mental Health

East Asian medicine excels at treating mental health issues, because we see the person’s mind, spirit, and body as an interconnected whole. There is no one-size-fits-all. East Asian Medicine practitioners use a detailed intake process and unique diagnostic techniques like abdominal palpation and pulse-reading to identify patterns that take your whole self into account. No two people are alike. We meet you where you are and co-create a plan with you to get you moving back towards balance.

When applying acupuncture points, we are activating and balancing the yin and yang aspects of your nervous system and stimulating your brain to release calming, feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters spread the message that it is ok to relax and feel at ease. This has a chain effect, as the more the nervous system is in balance, the more regulated are our moods, sleep cycles, appetites, libido, and energy.

When we continue to work together week by week, we gradually change your patterns and help your nervous system unlearn the specific pattern that has been causing you dis-ease. Through that process of unlearning, we introduce and establish healthier, more aligned ways of being in your body. We’ll check in before each treatment to see how you’re feeling, what progress we’ve made, and determine what adjustments we may need to make going forward.

How Acupuncture Helps Anxiety & Mood

Most people feel a shift starting with their first acupuncture session with symptoms relief increasing and building as we continue treatments week to week. It takes time to un-learn and re-pattern so we continue with a weekly cadence until we see symptom relief that lasts for at least two weeks. Once we achieve lasting results, people often like to come in for maintenance care as needed – because being in balance is always in flux. And srsly we live in the modern world and need support.

Our time together is based on mutual respect and trust – and an acknowledgment that we are collaborating on your care and wellness. We ask our clients to be an active participant in their own healing. Working with us often involves an invitation to start noticing yourself more fully – your nervous system, digestion, sleep, temperature, appetite, thirst, thoughts, habits, tendencies, and our body/mind as a whole. As such a profoundly regulating tool, acupuncture helps guide the mind to connect more fully into the body. The needles serve as tiny reminders to drop in. Personalized and individually selected points often signal you on a deeper level to connect with an aspect of yourself you may have forgotten, or is in need of repair. Plus, it’s just really relaxing!

Whether anxiety and depression are severely debilitating or more mildly zapping the joy from your life, there are many tools that can help balance the yin and yang to help you feel better in your mind and body. The path to mental health is not a sprint, but a marathon that requires patience, self-compassion, and regular self-care and learning to ride the waves with grace and resilience.

Would you like to connect with us to see if we can help you with our unique and effective approach to healthcare?

Request a free consultation and we’ll meet to discuss your case. We’ll sit down, review your health history and goals, and see if you are a good fit for our services. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions about our approach and if you feel confident that we can help, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to move forward and work with us.

About Four Flowers Wellness

Acupuncture & Holistic Medicine

We are a holistic East Asian Medicine practice serving Chicago’s West Loop and West Town neighborhoods. We are experts in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and supporting women and men through the child-bearing year, from women’s health concerns to fertility and prenatal care, complex pain or hormonal conditions, and mental-emotional issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

Visit the Apothecary to shop for fertility supplements, hormone-balancing herbs, and natural products to support your fertile and abundant life!

Shop Here

If you want to change your health or fertility, quality information is key to making progress without frustration and confusion. Check out our growing library of resources:

Learn Here


Share This