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Acupuncture for depression

On this page

  1. Overview
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Treatment
  5. Self-care
  6. Factsheet

1. Overview

Depression is a common mental disorder affects men and women of all ages and backgrounds. About two thirds of adults will experience depression at some point in their lives.

Sometimes people can suffer from a combination of anxiety and depression. Depression can also be stress related when people feel their stress is never going to get better causing mental and emotional stress that leads to a depressive disorder.

2. Symptoms

Symptoms of depression include a loss of interest or pleasure in life, have a low mood and have feelings of guilt or low self-worth, including disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy levels, physical and emotional pain, poor concentration and an increased sensitivity to pain.

Depression is often seen as a negative emotion. However, it's normal to experience some depression in your life if it's mild and short lived. This can occur from loss of a job, partner or loved one and even a lack of sunlight.

Clinical depression is a major depressive type disorder, which people suffer from long term. It will take longer and more treatment to cure. It's categorised as a mental health disorders.

This more chronic form can affect people severely and for many years. This form needs to be treated as it greatly affects quality of life and day to day function.

3. Causes

Women are twice as likely to become depressed as men. This may be due to hormone changes during their menstrual cycle, at menopause and after childbirth, which are all symptoms of a physical deficiency and chronic pain.

4. Acupuncture for depression

The treatment of depression in western medicine is normally with antidepressant medication. Anti-depressant medication can make anxiety and depression worse in the short term, but do work well for most depression suffers in the long term, hence why people can be on anti-depressants for long term, many years.

A holistic alternative medicine to anti-depressant medication is the use of acupuncture. Its popularity in treating depression has shown significantly in recent years. It's able to change the brain's chemistry whilst also treating psychological causes of depression.

A holistic approach is to use traditional Chinese medicine in conjunction with a good treatment plan. Acupuncture can be used alongside counselling, psychotherapy and a reduction in the dose of anti-depressants with your doctor's permission and consent.

From a traditional Chinese medicine viewpoint, depression is more than just a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can highlight an underlying health problem that needs treating. By treating the person's overall health, traditional Chinese medicine is able to combat the root cause of depression.

People suffering from depression can often show deficiencies in their health, either a lack of energy and blood or both together. When energy and blood are weak, they slowdown, which can bring a person's mood down. Energy movement is directed related to a person's mood. When energy moves better, feel are more uplifted. When is stagnates, a person mood drops. Over a long term of time, then turns into depression. By regulating and improving energy and blood levels, a person feels less depressed.

Randomized controlled trials and other studies suggest that acupuncture treatment is as good as anti-depressants at treating depression, just without the side effects. The study showed significant improvement in depression levels.

Research suggests that the stimulation of acupuncture points has a therapeutic effect on depression by altering the brain's mood chemistry, increasing production of serotonin and endorphins. It may also benefit depression by acting on the nervous system, including those involving dopamine, noradrenaline and cortisol.

5. Self-care

Making changes to a person's diet and lifestyle can help depression in the long term. Sleeping earlier, have strategies dealing with depression such as breathing exercises and social interaction skills, improving diet choices and taking certain supplements can all increase the effectiveness of acupuncture in the long term and help to make sure emotional and mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are less likely to return.

I've helped many people, both men and women with this problem. My treatment has enabled them to live happier and healthier lives.

6. Depression factsheet

For further information, read the acupuncture for depression factsheet.


J. Rschke, Ch. Wolf, M.J. Mller, P. Wagner, K. Mann, M. Grzinger, S. Bech, The benefit from whole body acupuncture in major depression, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 57, Issues 1�3, 2000, Pages 73-81, ISSN 0165-0327,
Ye J, Cheung WM, Tsang HWH. The Neuroscience of Nonpharmacological Traditional Chinese Therapy (NTCT) for Major Depressive Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019 May 15;2019:2183403. doi: 10.1155/2019/2183403. eCollection 2019.
Di, Y, et al. Clinical evidence of Chinese medicine therapies for depression in women during perimenopause and menopause. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Dec;47:102071. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.019.