Acupuncture has proven effective in reducing symptoms for many patients suffering from depression and anxiety. Alongside prescribed medications, acupuncture has been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of patient suffering.

Anxiety and depression are the two most common mood disorders, and about one third of patients do not respond to traditional interventions, such as medication and psychotherapy. Acupuncture is an ancient healing practice that aims at making the entire body well, thus, it can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety [1, 2]. There are specific meridians that can be targeted to treat depression and anxiety [1]. These pathways allow qi, or energy, to travel throughout the body and bring balance to the nervous system and the immune system.

Researchers find that acupuncture combined with antidepressants has greater effect in treating depression and anxiety than either treatment alone [3]. There are many benefits to acupuncture therapy, including potential relief from depression and anxiety. Acupuncture is very relaxing and initiates the release of endorphins which are hormones that act as a natural pain killer in the body. When needles are inserted into sensory nerves just below the skin’s surface, the body stimulates a response in the immune system, which increases circulation to that area of the body and triggers the release of endorphins. Furthermore, acupuncture reduces inflammation, increases our energy levels and bestows upon us a sense of well being. Manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture provide patients with a greater quality of life, as assessed by the World Health Organization’s WHOQOL-BREF scale.


  1. Wang T, Deng R, Tan JY, Guan FG. Acupoints Stimulation for Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Patients: A Quantitative Synthesis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016.
  2. Sniezek DP, Siddiqui IJ. Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review. Med Acupunct. 2013;25(3):164-172.
  3. Amir Qaseem, Michael J. Barry, Devan Kansagara et al. Nonpharmacologic Versus Pharmacologic Treatment of Adult Patients With Major Depressive Disorder: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2016.