top of page

Depression, Stress: Acupuncture Treatment

Depression is a widespread mental health disorder in the UK, affecting about one in six adults. It often coexists with anxiety, stress, and loneliness. The chronic but less severe form is known as chronic mild depression. Many cases of mood depression can escalate into major depression, which is the primary form of depression. Bipolar disorder, characterized by alternating episodes of depression and mania, is another form of depression. The term 'mental illness' usually includes bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and depression is often a symptom of neurotic disorders, coexisting with anxiety. Acupuncture has shown effectiveness in treating depression and other mental health conditions.

Acupuncture primarily uses body points, selecting points in the central reflex areas of the head, trunk, and extremities based on clinical manifestations.

Acupuncture treatment is notably effective for mild depression or general anxiety disorders. However, the number of treatments and specific acupuncture points may be critical factors for efficacy. Clinically, stimulation of many areas (acupoints or non-acupoints) on the body surface, as long as there is a needle sensation, can be effective for mental illnesses, with stronger needle sensations often yielding better results in fewer treatments.

Patients with mental illnesses often have stiffness and hypersensitivity in the pectoralis major and rectus abdominis muscles, and swelling in the neck muscles. Common tender points may be found in the chest and abdomen at points like Qihai, Zhongwan, Shangwan, and Danzhong, and on the head at Baihui, on the neck at Tianzhu, and on the back at Shendao, Jinsuo, Tianzhu, Dazhu, Fengmen, and Ganshu. Moxibustion on these points is most effective for depression but less so for manic episodes. It has also been observed that patients with mental illnesses and neurasthenia often have tenderness at Shenmen, with Quchi and Zusanli being key points for treating mental illnesses.

There are many successful clinical reports on acupuncture treatment for schizophrenia. One possible mechanism for acupuncture's effectiveness in treating mental illnesses relates to its role in adjusting head blood pressure and improving cerebral blood flow. Omura reported that most patients with low head blood pressure experience sleep disturbances, mainly insomnia. Some may develop hypersomnia, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and various degrees of irritability. Many patients with mental illnesses like schizophrenia or severe depression often have significantly reduced head blood pressure and blood supply, compounded by additional pancreatic, thyroid, or liver dysfunctions. This could explain some of their abnormal behaviors, especially when low blood sugar, decreased 5-HT levels, and reduced cerebral blood supply coexist.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page