The effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine on mental health

Mental illness can affect anyone at any time in their life and may have long-lasting effects. 1 in 5 Canadians experiences mental illness. Young people ages 15-24 are the most likely to experience mental illness and may suffer from future symptoms. With mental health awareness becoming increasingly known, the practice for treatment may be limited to western medications and lifestyle habits.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories are relative to promoting healing and a sense of well-being. TCM is considered to be psychological medicine because it not only successfully treats the body but also has influential abilities in treating the mind. Practices such as acupuncture, moxibustion and herbology are ideal for treating psychological ailments and can be combined with western medicine. Acupuncture is already known for its benefits in aiding in sleep, stress and anxiety management, however, moxibustion and herbology are particularly significant because they are non-invasive treatments and are just as effective as acupuncture.

Normally moxibustion treatments consist of igniting the herb Mugwort and holding it over acupuncture points. When the herb burned it creates a slow-burning heat, which opens the pores of the skin and the herbs are absorbed. This is highly beneficial for mental illness because the increased blood flow from the heat, as well as the herbal absorption, can increase cell repair and cell production. With proper blood flow to the brain nutrients, oxygen and hormones will be further regulated, hence maintaining balance.

Herbal medicine has many abilities to target different systems in the body most commonly digestively but also psychologically. Many ingredients in Chinese herbal formulas can increase cognitive ability and cell repair, neurotransmitter production, can have anti-inflammatory effects and can regulate hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.

The Doctors at Huatuo Clinic have the experience to demonstrate TCM’s ability to address a multitude of mental health-related problems both independently and in conjunction with other management strategies.

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