One of the great things about an acupuncture consultation is that there is ample time to converse with a patient about their concerns and overall state of health. Indeed, many of my patients feel relieved to have the opportunity to fully express the peculiarities of their condition. Therapy naturally follows these conversations, allowing the patient to connect to the treatment and the healing process in general.
Patients usually come to my clinic with some kind of musculoskeletal issue, however, during the session many emphasize that they are also considerably fatigued and stressed. These patients often raise frustrations about their job, family, relationship, or financial situation. Life pressures and social issues can bring to bear considerable fatigue. One of the strengths of Traditional East Asian Medicine is that it recognizes mental fatigue as an important factor in many disease states.
Many people face significant feelings of fatigue and stress every day. There are a variety of different ways in which these problems manifest. Symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, depression (dejection), irritability, difficulty relaxing and anxiety are common. More often than not, these symptoms arise from a person pushing beyond the limits in which they can mentally and physically cope. Serious mental health issues will require therapy and monitoring from a professional with specific training. However, for those with mild to moderate symptoms, acupuncture can be good treatment.
The success of Traditional East Asian medicine in this area is based on its use of holistic theory and whole body treatment. It is helpful, when dealing with mental fatigue, to get a broad picture of a person’s health. This allows the practitioner to understand the negative factors that are weighing upon the individual. A basic assumption of medicine, both eastern and western, is that the body has an innate capacity to repair and harmonize itself. In traditional medicine this force is called zheng qi (upright qi). Efforts are made to transform the negative factors afflicting the individual, called xie qi (pathogenic qi), into positive factors that support the organism. In many cases treatment aims at relaxing, slowing the mind, loosening the body, relieving pain and inducing sleep. For difficult cases, we concentrate on improving the basics; appetite, sleep and elimination. A normal treatment for mental fatigue utilizes shallow needles, moxa (heat therapy) and massage.