Acupuncture for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Managing OCD NaturallyOnce in a while we all become obsessed with something. It could be a favorite food, television program, exercise regiment or simply a comfortable ritual of events on the way to work. These obsessions often coddle us into a feeling of safety and familiarity that can be helpful throughout our daily lives. It is when these behaviors begin to move to the forefront of our world that a problem can arise. Becoming compulsively obsessive to the point where our family, friends and work all take a back seat to such behavior may indicate that we are suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Some signs that are often associated with symptoms of OCD include constant hand washing, repetitive checking of locked doors or if the stove is turned off, arranging items into the same position over and over or continued counting of cars, steps, clouds, etc.. Interestingly, it has been found that these behaviors are not displayed as to gratify or create pleasure but instead as an attempt to quell underlying anxiety, fear, depression or other forms of mental stress. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD outranks other mental challenges in the U.S. such as schizophrenia, bipolar or panic disorder by affecting approximately 2.2 million adults. These numbers are considered low due to the fact that many people who struggle with OCD do not even consider it a challenge but simply a quirk therefore neglecting to report their behavior and becoming officially diagnosed.

OCD Treatment Choices
Conventional medicine still does not have a known cause for OCD as it can afflict any age (including children), gender, race or culture. Therefore medications such as anti-anxiety, anti-depressant (SSRI) and sleep aids as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have been the treatment choices to date. Acupuncture and naturopathic medicine are another choice that may be able to go beyond where conventional medicine leaves off within certain individuals. In fact, in 2009 the FDA approved “Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy” which is using electro acupuncture to reduce the severity of OCD symptoms in extreme patients.

You Are Not Alone
Many people suffer with OCD behind closed doors however most are unaware of those in the public eye that have struggled just like them. Well known OCD sufferers include notable figures such as Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Beethoven and Michelangelo as well as famous actors like Billy Bob Thornton, Jessica Alba, Cameron Diaz, Charlie Sheen and Penelope Cruz.

Acupuncture: Reduce Fear, Strengthen Hope
Classical Chinese medicine considers the affliction of OCD an energy dysfunction of the kidneys and how the Spirits or that which nourishes the Spirits is hindered. As mentioned in the Ling Shu: “When there is apprehension and anxiety, worry and preoccupation attack the Spirits. When the Spirits are attacked, under the effect of fear and fright, there is a flowing out, there is a spilling over that cannot be stopped.” The Kidney is considered the root of all fear based afflictions as it stores the Essence or Jing (life force), the Essence generates Qi and Qi generates Spirit. When this cycle is interrupted the Kidney allows Fear to rise which can result in creating deep emotional distress which includes symptoms of OCD. Strengthening the kidneys could be a first approach working such points as: KI3 located between the inner ankle bone and the Achilles tendon; KI6 will tonify Kidney Yin which in the case of OCD is also out of balance. This point is located on the outer ridge of the middle foot; KI7 tonifies Kidney Yang the other side of Yin that needs to be re-aligned, located just above the outer ankle. Although these points are all within a similar radius many other acupuncture points throughout the body will calm Shen (mind-spirit), ease depression associated with OCD as well as quiet the mind so as to be able to concentrate on a direct, linear focus rather than a firestorm of constant repetitiveness.

Progressive Brain Therapy for OCD
Many new breakthroughs have surfaced in the ongoing research of the brain and its many mysteries, including OCD. One such innovation is a new take on the old therapy of electrical shock treatment. It is a progressive form of neurofeedback and electrical brain stimulation called tDCS or transcranial direct current stimulation (New Scientist 2012). Using an electrical current akin to a 9-volt battery, it is safely applied to the brain which U.S. military testing has found to enhance focus with such success that it doubled the rate at which subjects could learn such things as “recognition, marksmanship and math skills”. For OCD sufferers this therapy has the potential for ‘shocking’ the brain out of its repetitive storm and into a direct focal point. Interestingly hallucinogenic drug therapies are displaying similar results of reducing brain confusion in those suffering from anxiety, depression and OCD. Controlled research using such applications a psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms), MDM – methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) and LSD are showing great promise in re-setting an afflicted mind. Professor David Nutt of Imperial London College reported on a study by British neuroscientists. They found that psilocybin calmed the hyperactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulated cortex of the brain. These are areas notorious for depression, one possible cause of OCD. Of course these studies are highly controversial given the beginning stages and illegality of these substances.

If You Think Your Kidney Needs Strengthening
In addition to acupuncture and naturopathic medicine, strengthening Kidney can be assisted in your daily life. If Kidney is weak there are a few things you can do to build it up. Signs of a weak Kidney are many but some, if obviously prevalent, may be more of a solid indication. Challenges with the bladder, ears, arthritis, erectile dysfunction or asthma are popular signs. Ways to build Kidney Yin and Yang include:

  • Warmth – Kidney thrives on warmth and such things as cold fluids into a hot body after a workout or especially on a cold day will deplete Kidney.
  • Lower Back Covering – The lower back should avoid too much exposure as it is associated with being vulnerable to temperature. Some even wear a ‘warming band’ around the area as they feel this creates a friendly Jing environment.
  • Orgasm – Vital Jing is lost each time we orgasm. One to two times per week or refraining for longer periods of time (Tantric sex) is recommended to protect Kidney’s vital force.
  • Protect Kidney 1 – Known as the “Bubbling Well Point”, Kidney 1 is located in the center of the soles of the feet. Wearing socks and avoiding walking barefoot on cold floors will protect Kidney.
  • Self-Acupressure at Kidney 3 – Working this previously mentioned point in a quiet meditative location, twice per day for about five minutes at a time is recommended.

At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.

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