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Acupuncture for Depression?

Depressed woman - choosing acupuncture or drugs?Acupuncture for Depression

Depression is a huge problem. Did you know that in the United States doctors write over 150,000,000 prescriptions for anti-depressants each year? Drugs like Abilify, Pristiq, and Zyprexa net billions of dollars for their manufacturers each year.

That’s good news for the drug manufacturers, but not necessarily good news for those suffering from depression. For one thing, anti-depressant medications can have serious side-effects. Furthermore people using anti-depressant medications can find it difficult to get off of them. Consequently there are lots of people suffering with depression who are looking for non-drug options.

Depression Statistics: Who Is Affected by Depression?

  • Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year. (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun; 62(6): 617-27)
  • While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32. (U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates by Demographic Characteristics, 2005)
  • Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003; Jun 18; 289(23): 3095-105)
  • As many as one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents have clinical depression. (Center for Mental Health Services, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1996)
  • People with depression are four times as likely to develop a heart attack than those without a history of the illness. After a heart attack, they are at a significantly increased risk of death or second heart attack. (National Institute of Mental Health, 1998)

I’ve written another article about acupuncture for depression which describes this drug-free approach. Acupuncture provides a surprising amount of flexibility and specificity for treating conditions of the mood and mind.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Icing Injuries – “Ice is for dead people”

A man with an icy frozen beard

Icing I photo by Robert Thomson

Icing Injuries

Shelby VanCleve recently blogged about the common use of ice for sports injuries. I have to say that I totally agree with her. Icing injuries may be helpful immediately after an injury when swelling can really flare, but after that point you are probably doing yourself more harm than good.

When ice is applied it causes the blood supply to the area to be shut down. The tissue almost goes into suspended animation. But it is that blood supply that the body is using to bring nutrients and white blood cells to repair the damage and heal the injury. Icing injuries just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I don’t work a lot with herbs, but one of the formulas I think no one should be without is called San Huang San. When I start selling a few herbal formulas this will definitely be one I offer. It is able to reduce the swelling of an injury while moving blood and energy through the area to help the healing process. There’s no real substitute.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Acupuncture Points Explored

Acupuncture - Needle in an acupuncture point

People often wonder how acupuncturists help people. What we do is located the acupuncture points. What is an acupuncture point?

Acupuncture points are the places on the body where an acupuncturist typically places needles. They are also the same points used in acupressure. But just what are they? What is special about these places on the body? How can points on one extreme of the body change what’s happening at the other end?

I wrote an article recently explores the topic of what acupuncture points are and how they are able to cause all of the amazing effects possible through acupuncture. It’s a heady look at the topic for the intellectually curious. The article is available here: What are Acupuncture Points?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the topic. Does this clash with your understanding of acupuncture points? Does it fit well or poorly with modern science? Please comment below.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Flexible Spending Accounts: Use It Or Lose It

Flexible Spending Accounts

It’s November (as I write this) and there are just a few weeks left in this year. With the holidays in the mix, this year will be over before you know it. For those of us with health “flexible spending accounts” (FSA) that means there is not a lot of time to use that remaining balance before it goes POOF and magically vanishes into the pockets of the company that manages your account. It’s “use it or lose it” time!

What is it?

These are accounts approved by the IRS to create a way for you to pay for your out-of-pocket health care expenses with pre-tax dollars. That means you ultimately get more health care for your dollar (since Uncle Sam doesn’t take a share- similar to how an IRA works), so it’s a great idea to participate in one of these plans if your employer offers one.

Use it or Lose it

Unfortunately, these plans do have a limitation- the “Use It or Lose It” rule. At the end of your “coverage period” (typically the end of the calendar year) you have not used your entire deposited balance on health-related expenses your money vanishes! Well, sort of… you typically will have a grace period of a few weeks to submit claims, but the expenses typically must have occurred during the calendar year.

What Can You Spend it On?

Well, first of all, you may spend it on acupuncture! According to IRS Publication 969 you are able to use spend the money on any qualified expense as listed in IRS Publication 502. That means acupuncture treatments are qualified. Check out the complete list in Publication 502 if you are unsure if a particular expense is qualified, or check with the company that hosts your FSA.

Other Types of Accounts/Arrangements

There are other kinds of tax-deferred accounts such as HRA (health reimbursement arrangement) and HSA (health savings account) that exist. These work differently than a flexible spending account. One difference is the lack of the “use it or lose it” rule- the money will roll over from year to year. Nevertheless, you should also be able to use these types of accounts to pay for acupuncture as per IRS Publication 969.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.