Acupuncture Treatment for Emotional Trauma

Everyone knows about emotional trauma and it’s long-lasting, damaging effects. There are no clear pharmacological treatments for trauma and PTSD. Current treatment includes antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and antipsychotic drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and counseling. What is trauma and how can Acupuncture treatment help?

The word “trauma” comes from the Greek word for “wound”. A trauma can be a physical injury or a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.  It can be emotional shock following a stressful event or physical injury. From a psychological perspective, traumatic experiences are emotionally painful and distressing and can overwhelm an individual’s capacity to cope. An experience of powerlessness is a primary symptom of trauma.

Following the initial trauma, a person may be left with intrusive thoughts, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares, triggering the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. They may feel unsettled or unsafe and startle easily, becoming hypervigilant. Or they may struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, or depression. Sleep disturbances are common, as are changes in appetite, either too much or too little. Pain is often a result of trauma - pain from injuries, direct trauma, or severe migraines. Because a person may be hypersensitive to and easily triggered by certain sights, sounds, smells, or physical sensations.  People will often withdraw from others or public places and restrict the type of activities they do to avoid the emotional trauma triggers.

One of the most common ways trauma is manifested is chaotic emotions such as fear, anxiety, rage, guilt, and shame. In addition to trauma’s effect on emotions, traumatic experiences are stored in the tissues of the body as tightness or pain. Physical and emotional trauma can affect the mind, causing difficulty concentrating, remembering, or thinking clearly. Some people who’ve experienced trauma may not consciously remember the trauma, but their bodies do.

Some seek to numb the pain by using drugs, alcohol, or food which can turn into addiction patterns. 

Acupuncture helps with restoring balance to the mind and body and employs many techniques to bring extreme emotional and physical responses back into balance.

With Acupuncture treatment the mind, body, spirit and emotions have been viewed as a seamless whole – disharmony in one affects the other – there is no separation.  Because of this connection, treating areas of the body affected by trauma, acupuncture can release and heal the emotional pain held in the body.

One of the major benefits of Acupuncture for emotional trauma is it helps shift the autonomic nervous system, regulating the body's unconscious actions, out of sympathetic nervous system (“fight, flight, or freeze” response) into parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest” mode). Acupuncture provides amazing relief from the assault of stress hormones, allowing the body to rest and begin the process of healing.

Regardless of when a traumatic experience happened, the impact on a person’s life can be profound. Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and drug-free way to help people recover from the effects of trauma and return to living happier, fuller lives.

Please contact Dr. Bonnie Lambert, Acupuncturist and Doctor of Eastern Medicine at Align’s Wellness Studio, on the Paseo, in Camana Bay.

Eamon Wilson