What We Treat
Mental and Emotional Health
A Happier, Healthy You is Possible
You can live a happier, healthier life — you deserve to be happy! East Asian Medicine (EAM) can support you on a path to better mental and emotional health. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping therapy, and tuina massage are all EAM modalities that can help you naturally with no side effects.
Find out for yourself how East Asian Medicine can help you to think clearly and feel grounded — so you can make better decisions. Let’s make a plan to get you back on track with real results, using methods that are safe, natural, and effective. Make an appointment and experience the benefits!
Use the quick links below to jump to that section lower on the page:
- Benefits of a Natural Approach to Mental and Emotional Health
- Our Holistic Approach to Treating Mental and Emotional Health Issues
- Mental and Emotional Health Issues We Can Help You With
- How We Heal
- What to Expect — Creating the Right Treatment Plan for You
- Meet Nicole McLaughlin
- Be the Best Version of Yourself
Our Holistic Approach to Treating Mental and Emotional Health Issues
Our holistic approach to treating mental and emotional health issues begins with listening. We value what you have to say and address your primary health concern by identifying the root cause of your condition. We’ll design a specific plan to lower your stress levels, help you get better sleep, and alleviate pain.
We use acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and tuina massage to naturally, safely, and effectively address your mental-emotional health concerns.
If you’re currently working with a therapist, psychiatrist, or another type of healthcare provider, we can be included as part of your healthcare team.
Herbal medicine offers natural, food-grade remedies to support your health and wellness.
Mental and Emotional Health Issues We Can Help You With
There are a variety of important mental and emotional health issues that we can help you with. Whether you are interested in lowering your stress levels or alleviating a physical ailment, we can help stabilize your mental and emotional health naturally. Below is a list of stress-related disorders and other mental-emotional conditions that we can help you with:
- Mood Disorders such as Depression
- Memory Problems and Forgetfulness
- Trauma Related Disorders such as PTSD
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Acupuncture for Mental Health
Acupuncture can support your mental health by helping you to think clearly and make better decisions. You can benefit from acupuncture if you’re experiencing any of the following conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Memory problems and forgetfulness
Acupuncture therapy helps lower stress, reduces anxiety, eliminates pain, and increases a deep state of relaxation. If you’re having difficulty making clear decisions, take the next step and make an acupuncture appointment today. You can start by verifying your insurance coverage or scheduling your first appointment.
Acupuncture for Emotional Health
Acupuncture gets to the root cause of your physical and emotional issues by releasing and regulating imbalances. It will support your ability to cope, process, and manage difficult emotions. You can benefit from acupuncture if you’re experiencing any of the following:
- Emotional distress leading to physical symptoms (migraines, lethargy, pain)
- Restlessness and agitation
- Irritability, tension, anger, aggressive or passive-aggressive behavior
- Paralyzing fear
- Excessive fatigue or lack of energy
- Grief and loss
- Frequently crying
- Feeling out of control or being overcontrolling
- Excessive worrying
- Sadness that affects your eating and sleeping habits
If you’re already seeing a therapist and are looking for additional support, acupuncture can help. Acupuncture taps into inner resources, making sure that everything is flowing smoothly. You’ll feel a sense of inner calm and stability, giving you space and an opportunity to handle emotions in a healthy manner. With regular treatment, it can also help balance your hormones and ease digestion.
If you’re struggling to manage difficult emotions, take the next step and make an acupuncture appointment today. You can start by verifying your insurance coverage or scheduling your first appointment.
Acupuncture is Not a Substitute for Prescription Medication
While many patients experience significant health benefits related to their mental-emotional well-being, acupuncture is not a substitute for prescription medications.
Chinese Herbs for Mental and Emotional Health
Chinese herbal medicine addresses mental and emotional health disorders from an internal perspective. Herbs supplement your body with added nutrients to nourish your blood, calm your mind, and make you feel stable. They also promote hormonal balance, which will improve your emotional well-being — so you can feel good and make better choices.
There are several classical Chinese herbal remedies to help you balance your emotions naturally that are not addictive and have no pharmaceutical side effects. Chinese herbal medicine is often combined with acupuncture therapy for faster results.
We use ethically sourced, highly-concentrated classical and modified formulas. Internal herbal remedies are compounded into a powder and encapsulated into vegetable capsules, which make them easy to take and good for travel.
Herbal Medicine is Not a Substitute for Prescription Medication
While many patients experience significant health benefits related to their mental-emotional well-being using East Asian Medicine, Chinese herbal remedies are not a substitute for prescription medications. You can take food-grade herbal remedies in addition to your prescribed medications without side effects. If you want to reduce or stop taking prescribed medications, consult with your primary care physician.
Cupping for Mental and Emotional Health
Cupping therapy can improve your mental-emotional health by alleviating tension and pain, giving you a deep sense of relaxation. It also addresses sinus and lung conditions so you can boost your compromised immune system and breathe again.
If you’re not thinking clearly and are dealing with difficult emotions, cupping therapy is a great add-on to your acupuncture treatment. It’ll help you alleviate physical pain and strengthen your ability to ward off external and internal pathogens.
Cupping is Not for Everyone
While cupping can be a beneficial practice, it’s not appropriate for everyone. For example, if you’re on blood thinners or are pregnant, then this is not for you. Discuss with your practitioner any questions or concerns that you may have.
Tuina Massage Therapy for Mental and Emotional Health
Tuina massage therapy (pronounced “twee nah”) can improve your mental-emotional health by alleviating tension and pain, giving you a deep sense of relaxation. If you’re not thinking clearly and are dealing with difficult emotions, tuina massage therapy is a great add-on to your acupuncture treatment. It’ll help you relax, alleviate pain, and improve circulation.
Tuina massage involves acupressure with kneading, rolling, and gliding techniques that correspond to acupuncture channels. If you’re looking for a natural method to stabilize your mental and emotional health, consider including tuina massage before your acupuncture session. Not only will you feel less stressed — you’ll think clearer.
What to Expect
Creating the Right Treatment Plan for You
Your path to better health begins the moment you reach out to Nicole McLaughlin Acupuncture. You can expect my commitment to you and a holistic approach to your health. Welcome!
At your first visit, you’ll share your health history and define your health priorities. I’ll listen and design a treatment plan with acupuncture and other East Asian Medicine modalities. While treatment plans vary, new patients can expect 6-12 weeks of continuous care. At every follow-up visit, I always want to know what’s going well first. Then you’ll discuss your primary concern and what’s changed — whether things have improved, declined, or stayed the same.
When your primary concern has been resolved, you can reduce treatments to monthly or seasonal maintenance. Otherwise, you can bring up another health concern you’d like to address. If you’re looking for a solution to your health concerns, you’ve come to the right place.
Mental health is our psychological, emotional, and social well-being combined. How we think, feel, and act encapsulates our mental health.
- How we think (psychological)
- How we feel (emotional)
- How we act (social)
Mental health affects every stage of your life from in utero/pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and throughout the stages of adulthood. Factors that contribute to mental health function include: genetics, family health history, and life experiences.
The difference between mental and emotional health is that mental health encompasses emotional health.
Mental health relates to the function of your brain and determines how
- You make decisions
- Interact with others
- Manage stress
Emotional health is a component of mental health and relates to feelings, emotions, mood, and demeanor. Emotions are healthy when you’re able to:
- Identify your feelings
- Acknowledge difficult emotions or strong feelings
- Process feelings that relate to frustration, irritability, anger, fear, loss, worry, loneliness, etc.
- Manage emotions as you move through your day without being distracted and be emotionally balanced in your interactions with others
- Express your feelings in a socially acceptable way
Mental and emotional health is a part of our overall well being: physical, emotional, and spiritual. In Chinese medicine, there’s a relationship between your brain and your heart. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can help balance the heart-mind connection.
If you’re looking for a safe, natural, and effective modality to help regulate your mental emotional health, make an acupuncture and herbal medicine appointment today.
Mental health is important because it influences how we think, feel, and act. It corresponds with the function of your brain. When you have a healthy mental state you can make decisions, interact with others, and manage stress.
7 Benefits of A Healthy Mental State
- Improve and co-create healthy, meaningful relationships
- Think more clearly
- Cope with daily life stressors
- Improve mood and self-esteem
- Reduce anxiety
- Remember and re-establish inner peace
- Be positive
Focusing on our mental health can improve our relationships, productivity, confidence, and self-image.
Emotional health is important because it influences our actions, whether we’re aware or not. When you have emotional health, you work well with others and contribute to your community.
Emotional health is also tied to physical health. As an example, being quick to anger can often correlate to high blood pressure. High blood pressure relates to heart health.
When you are emotionally healthy, you can
- Think before you act—you can respond under pressure in a calm and collected manner
- Notice a difficult emotion—identify, manage, and handle it in order to put it into perspective
- Manage stress with relaxation techniques—meditation, deep breathing exercises, or physical activity
- Make time for relaxation and fun outside of work—rest, family, friends, and hobbies
- Take care of your physical health—sleep, healthy meals, and regular exercise
- Find purpose, passion, and meaning—your work, family, or volunteering
- Stay positive
Emotional health is important (understatement) because it’s a social skill we continue to develop. When we deal with everyday challenges, we are ideally gaining insight and perspective that helps us grow. Our goal is to bounce back and be resilient. If you struggle with bouncing back, acupuncture can help.
Stress affects mental and emotional health that can lead to symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, or depression. Long term stress can increase the probability of physical pain, sleep problems, and substance abuse. Stress makes our muscles tense and increases our breathing and heart rate. Overall it’s being overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Stressors may cause symptoms such as
- Excessive worry
- Tension headaches or body pains
- High blood pressure
- Inability to sleep
If you experience a high stress job, love loss, or another stressful situation, make an acupuncture appointment today. Acupuncture is an effective and proven method for naturally reducing stress and anxiety.
You can improve your mental and emotional health by learning what triggers your stress and develop healthy coping mechanisms to address the problem, reduce your concerns, and improve your overall life.
It’s important to remember that there is more than one way to solve a problem. Find what works for you, and remember the goal is health and happiness.
10 Tips for Improving Your Mental and Emotional Health
- Morning meditation (30 minutes) Sit still, relax, and have no relationship to the content of consciousness — first thing when you wake up is best
- Do the one thing that’s nagging you — if you did it, it would improve your life and everyone around you
- Stick to a sleep routine — go to bed between 9-10:30 pm, avoid staying up past 11 pm
- Exercise — 45 minutes per day, six days a week
- Eat regular and healthy meals, avoid eating late a night
- Avoid caffeine, if you tend to be anxious
- Practice relaxation techniques — yoga nidra, deep breathing exercises, or visualizations
- Maintain healthy relationships with family and friends
Seek professional support with acupuncture and herbal medicine
Yes, acupuncture can help many mental health issues. There are a number of conditions that acupuncture and auricular acupuncture (ear) can help.
Mental Health Disorders
- Anxiety or Panic Attacks
- Depression or Dysthymia
- Mania or Bipolar Disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Memory Problems
- Irritability or Overly Aggressive Behaviors
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Difficulty Maintaining Alertness
- Neurasthenia or Nervous Exhaustion
- Psychosomatic Disorders or Hysterical Disorders
- Repressed Emotional Experiences
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Addictive Behaviors and Drug Detoxification
- Substance Abuse, Drug Addiction, or Drug Detoxification
- Alcohol Abuse
- Nicotine Dependence, Smoking cessation, or Tobacco Withdrawal
- Appetite Control, Weight Reduction, or Obesity
- Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia
Stress-Related Disorders and Sleep Disorders
- Stress and Strain
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Snoring or Sleep Apnea
- Jet Lag or Circadian Rhythm Dysfunction
- Heat Stroke
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Hyperhidrosis or Excessive Sweating
If you experience one of the mental health conditions listed above, make an appointment today to see how acupuncture can help you.
Acupuncture helps mental health by stimulating a number of neurotransmitters and hormones. These neurotransmitters send signals to the brain and spinal cord, and also send signals to release certain hormones that primarily kill pain and make you feel good. This is why acupuncture is an effective, natural, drug-free, non-habit-forming, and no-side-effect medical option.
This is the neuroscience behind acupuncture. There are four neurotransmitters and hormones associated with acupuncture stimulation:
- Norepinephrine is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical substance that transmits signals across nerve endings. It is associated with blood pressure and heart health.
- Endorphins are hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. In response to pain or stress, they’re released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to relieve pain and create a “feel-good” sensation.
- Dopamine is another type of neurotransmitter that sends messages between nerve cells (stimulated by acupuncture). It’s associated with pleasure and helps us think, plan, and have motivation in life.
- Serotonin is another complex neurotransmitter that acts as a mood stabilizer. It helps produce healthy sleep patterns, improves digestion, and boosts mood. Serotonin affects:
- Mood and behavior—feeling good and living a long life
- Physiological processes (digestion)
From an Eastern perspective, two main approaches can be gleaned from an 8 Principle Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis and a Five Element philosophy. In a broad overview, the patterns involved relate to deficiency, stagnation, heat, dampness, phlegm, and shen disturbance. Our guiding principles are to transform phlegm, move stagnation, tonify qi /chi/, calm shen, and nourish the heart.
From a five element perspective, a person’s constitution (inherent way of being) is associated with one of the five elements: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. Depending on an individual’s physiology, emotions, and stage in life, the goal is to balance disharmonies and acknowledge your elemental virtues or gifts in the world: wisdom, benevolence, propriety, integrity, righteousness.
There are different approaches to the type of mental health issues you have. A licensed acupuncturist will be able to help you navigate your health from a holistic point of view. Book an appointment today.
Yes, Chinese herbal medicine can treat mental and emotional health issues. There are numerous classical herbal formulas and modified herbal formulas that can be used. Formulas are prescribed not only based on your primary concern, but your constitution.
Internal formulas can be formed as a decoction from raw roots and brewed into a tea or be compounded as granules, pills, or capsules. They are administered 1-3 times per day for at least three months. Some formulas are meant for acute conditions and others are safe to take for many years like a supplement.
It’s very important to take high-quality herbs that have an excellent reputation related to production and distribution. Herbal medicine is often safe with various prescription drug medications. It is important to seek herbal advice from a professional herbalist. If you struggle with mental and emotional health, consider adding acupuncture and herbal medicine to your health plan.
Meet Nicole McLaughlin
Since 2015, I've been a licensed acupuncturist in Washington, DC. I have advanced training in five element acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. My specialties are helping people overcome neuromuscular pain naturally, improve sleep, and support women with fertility, prenatal, postpartum, and menopausal care. I am dedicated to partnering with you on your path to better health. Learn more about Nicole.
Be the Best Version of Yourself
East Asian Medicine is a natural and elegant system of holistic medicine. Using modalities such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping therapy, and tuina massage, there are multiple ways that we can support your mental-emotional health, naturally with no side effects. Find out for yourself how East Asian Medicine can help you to think clearly and feel grounded — so you can make better decisions.
We’re in-network with Aetna and BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS)/CareFirst. You can also use your FSA or HSA card. Ready to take the next step? Check your insurance benefits and then you go to our online scheduling page to make your first appointment.
Looking forward to seeing you!
Nicole McLaughlin Acupuncture