SAN FRANCISCO, January 12 (Xinhua) – A new approach to Western psychiatric care with traditional Chinese medicine is expected to treat depression in the San Francisco Bay Area area in the United States.
Integral TMS, a recently launched psychiatric clinic in the Bay Area, aims to offer holistic care to patients with a focus on Chinese immigrants.
"It really is a treatment in time," said Hugh Brent Solvason, a psychiatrist and president of Integral TMS. "It's quite a challenge to keep people really good and to function optimally, so I think the treatment in combination with Qigong and acupuncture can be consistent," he added.
The clinic is a partnership between Solvason and Nine Star University, a California-based traditional Chinese medicine university, where the clinic is located. The university offers acupuncture treatment and Qigong classes in collaboration with Shaolin Temple USA.
"If everything is in one place, it feels like a therapeutic community, so the patients know that we all work from different viewpoints," Solvason said.
He started researching transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve the symptoms of depression in 2000. The clinical treatment was approved in 2007.
Solvason said that "astonishing" results have been achieved in some severe cases of depression.
"Depression has a huge effect on the entire body. Traditional Chinese medicine believes it is a result of an unbalanced Qi-circulation (energy)," said Philip Yang, president of the university.
He said that acupuncture has been an effective method to treat depression. One of his patients, a 22-year-old man, had been suffering from depression for 12 years.
"After three sessions, the patient said that he could sleep better and had more appetite, he even had a smile again," said Yang.
"Depression is associated with inflammation and the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and depression is an equal risk factor for heart disease and smoking," Solvason said. He has practiced Qigong for three years and has been to the Shaolin Temple in China several times.
"This is a powerful combination that integrates cultural aspects and makes Western psychiatric care more accessible to the Chinese community," Solvason said.
He said the clinic is recruiting bilingual psychiatrists to meet the needs of Chinese-speaking patients.