Two people sit at a table and discuss using acupuncture for depression with a cat on the lab.

Can You Use Acupuncture for Depression?

Millions worldwide struggle with depression, a complicated and frequently crippling mental health illness. While there are numerous efficient therapies for depression, they often do not target the underlying medical factors contributing to it. Here is where treating depression with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be helpful. We will first provide more information about acupuncture and TCM and then discuss how these practices can address some underlying reasons for depression.

At our clinic, most patients struggling with depression do best with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. We will discuss both.

During acupuncture, thin needles are inserted into specific locations on the body to encourage healing and create balance. For thousands of years, this method has been used to treat various medical ailments, including depression, successfully.

By addressing the physical and emotional imbalances in the body, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Chinese herbs can help treat depression. According to TCM, depression is a symptom of an imbalance in the body. In addition to acupuncture, Chinese herbs are employed to aid in the body’s healing and equilibrium. Chinese herbs are chosen based on the patient’s symptoms and can be customized to match each person’s specific needs. Chinese herbs have been shown to boost overall mental health and well-being by regulating hormone imbalances, reducing inflammation, and encouraging relaxation. Combining Chinese herbs with acupuncture offers a comprehensive strategy for treating depression that aims to address the underlying causes of the illness and provide long-lasting symptom alleviation.

Physical causes of depression 

Head trauma is one of the physical causes of depression that acupuncture can treat. Traumatic brain injury can alter mood and behavior by inflaming and damaging the brain. By stimulating particular spots on the body, acupuncture for depression can assist in reducing inflammation and promoting healing in the brain. Acupuncture for depression can help to regulate the brain and lessen depressive symptoms by increasing blood flow and lowering inflammation.

Thyroid problems are yet another physiologic cause of depression that acupuncture can at least partially treat. The thyroid gland is essential for controlling energy and metabolism. Depressive disorders, exhaustion, and other symptoms might result from a thyroid that is not functioning correctly. Acupuncture and TCM can help by harmonizing the nervous system, which affects the HPA axis, reducing stress and alleviating digestive l inflammation. In addition, using acupuncture for depression can help reduce symptoms brought on by thyroid problems by promoting hormonal balance.

Digestive inflammation also impacts depression levels. Most of the body’s neurotransmitters, molecules that send signals between nerve cells, are made in the gut. Digestive inflammation impacts the production of these neurotransmitters significantly, which can result in mood disorders, including depression. TCM and acupuncture treatments for depression can reduce guy inflammation and enhance gut health. 

Deficits in specific vitamins may also contribute to depression. Two vitamins that are crucial for the health of the brain are vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Depression and other mood disorders have been linked to low levels of these micronutrients. Through enhancing food absorption by improving digestion, acupuncture for depression can help correct vitamin deficiencies.

However, some aspects of depression that are not well treated by medication or therapy can benefit from acupuncture and TCM treatment for depression. For instance, insomnia, anxiety, and persistent discomfort might coexist with depression. By encouraging relaxation, lowering tension, and improving circulation, acupuncture for depression can help ease these symptoms. Acupuncture for depression can assist patients in achieving a greater sense of general well-being and enhance their quality of life by addressing these underlying problems.

Acupuncturist’s tools for treating symptoms of depression

An acupuncturist uses a comprehensive approach to health that considers the entire individual while attempting to correct any underlying imbalances causing, in this case, depression. When applied correctly, this method can produce more effective and durable results compared to medication or therapy alone. Acupuncture has fewer adverse effects than medications and is not addictive, nor do you need to continue to take Chinese herbs forever for them to work. You can use these therapies alone or with other treatments to get the best results.

Acupuncture for depression also has the advantage of being customized to each patient’s needs. Acupuncturists will consider a patient’s specific symptoms, medical background, and lifestyle choices when creating a treatment plan tailored to their needs. Patients’ overall quality of life can be enhanced by using this individualized strategy, which can also assist patients in getting better results.

Chinese herbal medicine, in addition to acupuncture, also has a successful track record in treating depression. Chinese herbs have been utilized to support health and balance in the body for thousands of years. Chinese herbal medicine can help enhance general wellness and lessen depressive symptoms when used with acupuncture by reducing inflammation from inside the body, improving the gut microbiome’s health and more.

When combined with other therapies like counseling or medicine, acupuncture for depression can be a potent tool in the management of depression. The physical and emotional causes of depression can be addressed with acupuncture and TCM, which can both enhance general health and wellness. Working with an acupuncturist often helps patients get long-lasting symptom alleviation by encouraging relaxation, lowering inflammation, and balancing the gut, thus helping to balance neurotransmitters. 

Does acupuncture have side effects? 

The side effects of acupuncture are generally very minimal. Some soreness and occasional bruising are typically the most severe side effects. 

Most of the “side effects” of acupuncture are positive. For example, the quality of your sleep may also be enhanced by acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. A typical sign of depression is insomnia, which can make other symptoms worse. By encouraging relaxation and lowering levels of stress, acupuncture can aid in enhancing the quality of sleep. Patients may have fewer symptoms of depression and an improvement in their general health and well-being by getting more restful sleep. Who doesn’t want those side effects? 

Other tips for dealing with depression:

Nutritional adjustments may also help with the treatment of depression. According to TCM, the foods we eat contain specific qualities that can impact our health and well-being. A TCM practitioner can suggest dietary modifications that can support better digestive health and general wellness. Patients may find a reduction in depressive symptoms and a rise in general energy levels via increasing digestion and food absorption.

Physical activity can also be effective in controlling depression. Endorphins, the body’s natural mood-enhancing chemicals, are released when you exercise. Patients who incorporate light workouts into their daily routines, such as yoga or walking, can lessen the symptoms of depression and enhance their general health and well-being.

Last but not least, mindfulness exercises like meditation or deep breathing might aid with depression management. While mental health can be improved with the support of mindfulness, which can also help with stress reduction and relaxation. In addition to acupuncture and other TCM treatments, patients may gain from incorporating mindfulness exercises into their everyday routine.

Conclusion – Acupuncture for Depression? 

As we have discussed, acupuncture is a holistic method of treating an illness like depression that aims to correct physical imbalances in the body and advance general wellness. Utilizing acupuncture for depression can help patients experience long-lasting relief from their symptoms by addressing the medical causes of depression, such as brain injuries, thyroid problems, gut irritation, and vitamin deficiencies. Moreover, acupuncture for depression can assist with aspects of depression, including sleeplessness, anxiety, and chronic pain that are difficult to treat with medication or therapy. In addition to acupuncture, various therapies offered by traditional Chinese medicine can be employed to help the body heal and achieve equilibrium like traditional herbal medicine. 

Consider looking into the advantages of acupuncture for depression and other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments if you or someone you know is experiencing depression. Make an appointment with our knowledgeable acupuncturist at Centered: Richmond Acupuncture to begin your path to better health and well-being. Acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative to conventional therapies that might not address the underlying physical causes of the problem. We offer individualized treatment programs based on each patient’s needs and symptoms. So take charge of your health and fitness with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine today, and stop letting depression rule your life. Book now.


If you are looking for help and would like to find out if you are a good candidate for services, we offer COMPLIMENTARY consultations.

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