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Acupuncture for Depression
Acupuncture is effective for Depression

Depression is a growing problem which is set to become the second leading cause of disease burden worldwide by 2020, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study. And it is highly concerning that up to 60% of patients do not respond adequately to pharmacological antidepressant treatment and 30% do not adhere to medication (Ref 1). 

In the United States, the lifetime prevalence of a major depressive disorder has been reported at 20.6% [ref2]. Besides antidepressants and psychological interventions, alternative approaches, such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), are frequently used in people with depression, either as an adjunct or replacement for conventional therapies.

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis found acupuncture had clinically significant reductions in the severity of depression compared to usual care, and a significant correlation between an increase in the number of acupuncture treatments delivered and reduction in the severity of depression (Ref 3).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Depression Treatment

Depression is not a single syndrome, actually it has multiple underlying mechanisms exist. It is impossible to find an universal factor that leads to or stops depression in all patients. Hence, the better healing approach could be to seek the unique cause for each individual patient and then to apply a personalized treatment, not only for alleviating depression, but also for correcting the underling reason that triggers depressive symptoms (Ref 4).

TCM takes a holistic view of health that makes it very effective for treating many diseases, including depression. TCM philosophy has always acknowledged the close connection between mental health and physical health. Emotions and thoughts are as integral to wellness as the proper functioning of the organ systems. Imbalances of yin and yang in internal organs can cause emotional problems, and vice versa. So, when an acupuncture practitioner addresses mental illness (and all other diseases), she/he is looking at the whole picture of the body. While a medical doctor may see varied symptoms such as digestive issues, headache, irritability and insomnia as disparate problems to be solved by different specialists, or treated with different medications, a TCM provider views all of these issues as being part of a particular pattern and treats that pattern as a whole.

The conventional antidepressants with single targets are insufficient and far from ideal. TCM has historically been used to treat depression up till today in clinical practice, particularly in Asia. TCM is a holistic medicine, which emphasizes the integrity of body and environmental effects on the internal homeostasis. In TCM, depression is thought to result from “vital energy” deficiency that is caused by dysfunction of multiple physiological systems in the body, such as dysregulation of blood circulation, inflammation, or “dampness and phlegm”. Strengthening “vital energy” is its healing principle, but correction of imbalance in other physiological systems by stimulating blood circulation, restraining inflammation, or removing “phlegm and dampness” is also important (ref4).

Here are some recent literatures:


A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis found that acupuncture is an effective and safe treatment for Chronic Pain-Related Depression, and acupuncture combined with drug therapy is more effective than single-drug therapy.

Another meta review

Another meta review indicates that acupuncture has greater effect on post-stroke depression and better safety profile than antidepressants.


A new study

A new study showed that acupuncture is a promising therapeutic strategy for comorbid depression and insomnia during perimenopause.


Another recent research

Another recent research showed that acupuncture can significantly improve the sleep quality, efficiency, and latency of chronic insomnia patients, and it can alleviate anxiety and depression in such patients.


Bin Yan et al.

Bin Yan et al. found that, in the treatment of chronic pain with depression, acupuncture could not only get better clinical efficacy, but also have higher security compared with medicine therapy, which can be used in patients with poorer response to the conventional medication or suffering from serious side effects.


Xiao Xiao et al. showed that acupuncture for perimenopausal depression

Xiao Xiao et al. showed that acupuncture for perimenopausal depression is safe and effective. Moreover, it has more stable long-term effects than antidepressants and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The authors recommend acupuncture as a clinical treatment of perimenopausal depression.


We help you fight Depression

Feelings of hopelessness and isolation can cause people to feel helpless, and hide their anxiety and extreme moods from others. But depression is a real and treatable illness. Whether you have been struggling with depression for a long time, or have just begun to feel worried about your mental health over weeks, please do not hesitate to reach out to us acupuncture in New York City . We will help you get out of the depression and begin to feel hope and purpose again.