Researchers from Stanford University found that 63% of women receiving just 8 weeks of acupuncture therapy for post natal depression (PND) responded well to the treatment. Dr Rachel Manber PhD, who is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences said that she hopes results like this will raise awareness that there are alternatives to anti-depressants. In fact, 94% of women undertaking the study did not actually want to take antidepressant medication because of the many effects side effects.
Some of the side effects of anti-depressants include nausea, irritability, diarrhea, insomnia and even suicidal thoughts.
People no longer have to put up with the side effects of anti-depressants because acupuncture can treat depression. There have been other research studies confirming the efficacy of acupuncture for depression working.
From a western medical perspective it is not even known what causes post natal depression and various theories have been put forward. One theory is that women after child birth have a vitamin deficiency but taking vitamins has shown little improvement. Another theory is that hormones have changed during and after pregnancy but again, hormonal therapy has made no change.
It is suggested that up to 15% of women suffer with post natal depression to some degree and the symptoms can include
- Poor memory and concentration
- Body aches and pains
- Low libido
To these mothers suffering from symptoms such as above, it’s a myth that “The birth of a baby brings huge joy, happiness and contentment to the family”.
The Postnatal Depression Family/Whanau New Zealand Trust also says that seeking professional help does not necessarily mean medication.
Chinese medicine physicians using acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been treating the full range of mental health issues including worry, fear, anxiety, depression and sadness for hundreds of years.
Western medicine admits it doesn’t understand the mechanism of post natal depression. Chinese medicine first documented the root causes of post natal depression more than 1000 years ago.
Debra Betts, a well-known Wellington acupuncturist and researcher has devoted a whole chapter to the treatment of post natal depression in her book “The Essential guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth”. Debra has been teaching at the New Zealand School of Acupuncture for over ten years and a comprehensive part of the Bachelor’s degree curriculum is devoted to acupuncture and pregnancy care.
There are over 500 members in the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists Inc qualified and experienced in treating post natal depression.
There are a number of causes according to Traditional Chinese Medicine that contribute to post natal depression including imbalances with the kidneys, liver and spleen. Most western women become deficient in qi (energy) and blood after childbirth because of the loss of blood and breast feeding. Traditionally in China, women stayed at home for a month after birth and had the grandparents at home cooking nourishing and strengthening herbal tonic soups for the mum. Replenishing the energy and blood after child birth with Chinese herbs and special foods can often help prevent symptoms like tiredness, insomnia and depression in post natal mums from eventuating.
There is adage in the old saying “let food be thy medicine”.