Acupuncture for Psychiatric Disorders - Treatment Protocols

General Approaches

Acupuncture For Psychiatric Disorders - Treatment Protocols

Acupuncture treatment protocols are generally directed towards the deeper root of a persons set of health issues, not at each individual issue. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, treatment is generally directed towards the individuals diagnostic pattern(s) and their primary issue is only a part of the information required to approach the correct patterns to treat (see "treating the cause vs. the symptoms" for an introduction to this process.).

In designing an acupuncture protocol for anxiety, one might find one or a combination of the following patterns: heart blood deficiency, liver and gallbladder damp heat, phlegm misting the heart, phlegm stagnation, shen disturbance, spleen qi deficiency among many other possibilities and possible combinations.

Below you will find some of the more common tcm diagnoses and acupuncture treatment protocols for stronger psychiatric disorders. There are many ways to approach the treatment of this condition within TCM. Our presentation describes foundational approaches that would need to be further tailored in most cases to be effective for a given individual.

  • Differentiation:
    • Kuang - Yang Conditions:
    • Phlegm Fire
    • Empty Fire - arises from long-term yin depletion
    • Dian - Yin Conditions:
    • SP Qi & HT Blood Deficiency - may arise from excessive worry and/or overthinking which, over time, injures the functions of the HT and SP
    • Phlegm Accumulation - related to long-term excessive or repressed emotions, in particular anger, which weaken the ST/SP and lead to an accumulation of phlegm
  • Phlegm Fire - Kuang/Yang
    • Signs & Symptoms:
      • Acute condition with outbursts of anger a/or aggressive activities, irrational actions, abusive language, flushed face, red eyes, insomnia.
      • Tongue: Red or Red/Purple w/greasy yellow coat
      • Pulse: Full, slippery, wiry
    • Treatment Points:
      • Valaskatagis Treatment Points:
      • LV 2 - clear LV heat
      • LU 11 - clear heat, mania
      • GV 26 - clear the mind
      • PC 8 - clear heat effecting the HT
      • PC 9 - clear heat effecting the HT
      • ST 40 - resolve phlegm
  • Empty Fire - Kuang/Yang
    • Signs & Symptoms:
      • Strong restlessness but more subdued than with the fire conditions, little self-control, patient may be thin a/or emaciated, yin deficient signs such as mallor flush, heat in the 5 palms, night sweats, insomnia.
      • Tongue: Red w/no coat
      • Pulse: Thin, rapid
    • Treatment Points:
      • Valaskatagis Treatment Points:
      • LV 3 - harmonize LV
      • HT 6 - clear heat effecting the HT, nourish Yin
      • PC 8 - clear heat effecting the HT
      • SP 6 - tonify Yin
      • UB 15 - HT Shu
  • SP Qi & HT Blood Deficiency - Dian/Yin
    • Signs & Symptoms:
      • Poor concentration, muddled thinking, forgetfullness, dream-disturbed sleep, insomnia, anxiety, palpitations, fearfulness, sadness, fatigue, poor appetite.
      • Tongue: Pale
      • Pulse: Thin
    • Treatment Points:
  • Phlegm Accumulation - Dian/Yin
    • Signs & Symptoms:
      • Dull and muddled spirit, apathy, melancholoy, inability to concentrate, nausea, chest oppression, fatigue.
      • Tongue: Greasy coat
      • Pulse: Slippery, wiry
    • Treatment Points:
      • Valaskatagis Treatment Points:
      • ST 40 - resolve phlegm
      • PC 5 - Expel phlegm from the HT
      • PC 6 - open chest, calm the spirit
      • CV 14 - HT Mu
      • SP 6 - tonify ST/SP
      • LV 3 - harmonize LV
      • GV 20 - clear the mind
      • GV 26 - clear the mind

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience. The following lecture notes were consulted within this section:

  • St. John, Meredith: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes
  • Valaskatgis, Peter: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes

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