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How Effective Is Acupuncture for Depression?

Acupuncture uses centuries old Chinese medical techniques to heal numerous ailments that haunt the human body. More than medicine it is an art, wherein needles are pierced at specific points on the body, without any drug or chemicals to achieve the therapeutic effect of healing illnesses. The acupuncture needles do not penetrate the skin; neither do they prick – an acupuncturist can allow the needles to slide smoothly through the skin tissues which will prevent damage, bleeding or abrasion to the skin texture.

How acupuncture works

There is no scientific explanation to this question but studies have shown that it is successful in curing certain chronic illnesses. It is believed among the eastern people that the energy Qi flows through the human body, through the meridians, connecting all the major organs.


Depression or any other Illness is caused due to blocking or imbalance of the Qi. Acupuncture stimulates certain points on the body to stimulate the nervous system, which in turn sends signals to hypothalamic-pituitary system to release the hormones endorphins into the central nervous system. Endorphins are our body’s own pain killers and they also help in the maintenance of emotional balance in a person. The hormone can fight off the blues of depression and anxiety effectively.

Acupuncture also addresses other problems related to depression like chronic pain, sleeplessness, emotional imbalance and extreme fatigue which further helps in speeding up the recovery of the patient.

Acupuncture for depression

With the rising cases of depression, people are increasingly trying alternative medicines more than drug therapies. Studies conducted on patients in clinical trials have proved that acupuncture can greatly help depressed patients, especially when used as adjuvant to psychotherapy and other medicines. For patients who dread needles, there is acupuncture therapy without needles, commonly referred to as acupressure which eliminates depression and anxiety to a great extent. The Chinese medical therapists have come up with a special program known as emotional freedom technique, for people suffering from emotional disorders.

Traditional Chinese medicine and depression

The conventional treatment followed by clinics does not address the emotional condition of the person just because the mind-body link is not studied by the practitioners. TCM practitioners, who have studied the relationship of body and mind for nearly 5000 years, are highly competent in treating emotional problems and their consequent physical and spiritual components. Acupuncture is an art developed by TCM for achieving whole person wellness by relieving problems related to emotions, body, mind and spirit of the patient.

The acupuncturist follows certain points on the body to treat a specific emotional disturbance. The classification of emotional disturbance related to certain points on the organs is as follows:

  • Unresolved emotional problem and grief – Lung
  • Overwhelming feeling of sadness and absence of joy – Heart
  • Anger and Anxiety – Liver
  • Feeling extremely fearful, insecure and shock – Kidney

Though many patients are hesitant to try out acupuncture therapy due to the fear of needles being inserted into the skin, once being through it, they realize it is not painful but in contrary is relaxing and pleasant. The facilitation of the life force, removes stagnation of energy in certain parts of the body, relieving the emotional stress in the process. If there is slight heavy or pulling sensation, it is considered effective by the acupuncturist.

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