Acupuncture for Depression? A Handful of Facts

While therapy and medication are the most studied treatments for depression, acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular option. If you want to try acupuncture for depression, read on. We’ll assess its potential effectiveness, safety, and more.
acupuncture for depression

Quick Guide

  • While acupuncture can be a bit pricey, I believe that the benefits far outweigh the costs.
  • For those who are hesitant to try acupuncture, I would encourage you to do some research and consult with a licensed practitioner to determine if it may be a suitable option for you.
  • In my experience, the combination of acupuncture with other treatments, such as therapy and medication, can be especially beneficial for those dealing with depression or other mental health concerns.
  • If you are considering acupuncture, I urge you to give it a try and see how it could positively impact your overall well-being.

Research on Acupuncture for Depression

I invite you to explore the potential of acupuncture for depression. The largest comparative study (2019) conducted so far revealed that those (2,268 participants) who underwent real acupuncture experienced much higher improvements in their depressive symptoms than those receiving either usual care or sham treatments, although bias and cultural differences must be taken into account. 

While more research is necessary before determining its efficacy on different ethnicities, it certainly won’t hurt to give it a go, right? Well, keep reading – we’ll assess the safety of these procedures as well.

Does Acupuncture Treat Depression Better Than Placebo?

Does Acupuncture Treat Depression Better Than Placebo

According to the meta-analysis we mentioned, real acupuncture was correlated with a more significant reduction in depressive symptoms than placebo acupuncture. This means that the people who had the needles inserted at the correct points on the body – known as acupuncture points – had better outcomes than those who did not.

Side Effects of Acupuncture for Depression

Acupuncture is widely regarded as one of the safest treatments around…but it can still carry certain risks, especially when done improperly. So if you’re considering acupuncture to treat your depression – and we totally support that decision! – make sure you let both your doctor and practitioner know about any medical conditions or medications beforehand. That way, everyone’s on the same page for a safe treatment journey with minimal side effects like minor bruising or soreness at the acupunctural points.

What Does an Acupuncture Session Look Like?

What Does an Acupuncture Session Look Like?

Acupuncture for depression typically involves multiple sessions, with each session lasting about 20 to 60 minutes. Here’s how a typical acupuncture session may go:

  1. The acupuncturist will ask about your medical history and symptoms.
  2. They will then assess the acupuncture points that could help with your specific condition – in this case, those related to depression.
  3. They will use sterile, thin needles at these acupuncture points, likely changing the needle placement throughout the session.
  4. They may also use other techniques, such as heat or electrical stimulation, during the acupuncture session.
  5. After the acupuncture needles are removed, the practitioner may give you exercises or lifestyle recommendations to continue supporting your health and well-being.

It’s essential to find a qualified acupuncture practitioner, as acupuncture can be dangerous if performed improperly. Look for someone who is licensed by your state’s acupuncture board and has experience treating patients with depression. Remember that the severity of depression can vary, so even if acupuncture has helped someone you know, there’s no guarantee that it will help you too.

Other Things You Can Consider to Complete Your Treatments:
Healing Frequencies, music for depression and binaural beats
Download the Insight Timer app on your phone and meditate on a regular basis.
Enroll to a Silva Method course or try Family Constellations.
Go to a yoga class or practice yoga at home
Eat so-called super foods that can help you with your depression. Remember that sugar, salt, meat, alcohol and processed food can make you more unhappy. 

Other Facts About Acupuncture and Depression

It’s vital to remember that acupuncture might not be sufficient to treat depression on its own. It may work best in conjunction with therapy and medication, and should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment. In addition, acupuncture is not a quick fix – it usually requires multiple sessions to reduce the severity of depression.

Finally, acupuncture can also help treat other health conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, like with depression, more high-quality studies are needed in diverse populations to assess its effectiveness for these conditions.

Editor’s Note 

As someone who has personally experienced the benefits of acupuncture, I can attest to its potential as a holistic approach to maintaining physical and mental well-being. During the years that I regularly attended acupuncture sessions, I noticed a remarkable improvement in my overall health and well-being. I was less prone to experiencing common illnesses, and I had fewer instances of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, I eventually stopped attending sessions, and over time, I noticed a gradual decline in my health.

Conclusion: Acupuncture May Help People With Depression

Although acupuncture may not be a panacea for depression, it could be a worthwhile endeavor – particularly when paired with therapy and medication. It is imperative to consult with your physician before pursuing acupuncture or any other Traditional Chinese Medicine modality, as well as to seek out a qualified, licensed practitioner to ensure safety.

All things considered, acupuncture seems to be a secure and potentially efficacious alternative for individuals grappling with depression.

Have you ever explored the possibility of using acupuncture for depression or another psychological ailment? Drop a comment below and share your experience with us. Make sure you read our blog post on Does Depression Go Away.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Acupuncture Points for Depression?

What Are the Acupuncture Points for Depression

Some acu points for depression include: middle of the wrists, the crossing between the thumb and finger, your foot about two finger widths above the place where the skin of your big toe and the next toe join.  Another one is located at the ulnar end of the distal wrist crease when the palm faces upward, on the radial side of flexor carpi ulnaris tendon. The last one is on top of your head. You can massage these points at home whenever you’re free.

How Long Does Acupuncture Take to Work for Depression?

The time it takes for acupuncture to work for depression can vary from person to person, but some people may start to experience benefits after a few sessions.

How Many Sessions of Acupuncture Are Needed for Anxiety?

According to some studies, a course of 12 acupuncture treatments over 8 weeks has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety.

Can Anxiety Get Worse After Acupuncture?

It is possible for anxiety to increase after acupuncture (but only to get better afterwards), as some people may experience an increase in their symptoms due to the stimulation of their nervous system. It is important to discuss any concerns with your acupuncturist before treatment.

Who Is Acupuncture Not Recommended for?

Acupuncture may not be the best option for those with particular medical conditions and medications. People who have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners should discuss these factors with their doctor, as they could face an increased risk of bruising from acupuncture treatments. Additionally, this traditional form of healthcare is certainly ill-advised if one has needle phobia or finds needles to be especially painful!

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