Did you know that mental health issues are on the rise in the US? Today nearly 10% of Americans suffer from depression, while 19% of U.S. adults have problems with anxiety.1 These health issues can be debilitating, but there are ways of helping manage these conditions without medication. One of those ways is acupuncture.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice that works by stimulating the body’s natural healing response, known as the “endorphin response”. The endorphin response is triggered when an acupuncturist inserts needles into specific points on the body known as acupoints. These points are located along meridians or energy channels through which qi (life force energy) flows throughout the body.
By stimulating these points with needles or heat, blood flow increases to those areas, bringing oxygen and nutrients that stimulate healing in surrounding tissue and organs. Acupuncture also balances the flow of energy in your body, which is how it overall helps depression, stress, and anxiety.
How does acupuncture help with stress?
Let us look how acupuncture helps you with stress. When you are stressed, you are not getting enough oxygen to your brain. The result is that your body cannot think clearly, and you get confused, tired, and irritable.
Acupuncture helps improve circulation to your brain by opening the pathways of energy that run through your body. This increases blood flow to the brain, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to help it work properly again. Acupuncture also stimulates the release of endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that make you feel happy and relaxed.
How does acupuncture help with depression?
The benefits of acupuncture for depression include increased energy levels, reduced irritability, and better sleep patterns. It can also improve concentration levels and help you feel less overwhelmed by everyday stressors such as work deadlines or financial pressures.
Licensed acupuncturist Dr. Julie Tran-Olive of Silicon Valley Natural Health in San Jose, CA, says she has found that clients suffering from depression can help improve their outlook with acupuncture treatments in as little as one to three sessions—or in sessions lasting from 8 to 12 weeks or more, depending on the severity of the depression.
“Every individual is unique when it comes to depression, and therefore each person will have different blockages in their “qi,” says Dr. Tran-Olive. “My goal is to help them release these blockages and restore balance to their system. The endorphins that are released through the acupuncture process help increase their feelings of wellbeing significantly.”
Are there any clinical studies that show the effectiveness of acupuncture?
The short answer is “yes.” When it comes to helping adults suffering from depression, clinical studies have shown that acupuncture can decrease the severity of depression. According to an article by WebMD,
“In an 8-week acupuncture study of 151 men and women, researchers found that depressive symptoms improved significantly. Those who received acupuncture, whether targeted or nonspecific, improved more than those who did not.” 2
Furthermore, a systematic review by National Institute of Health (NIH) on the topic “Acupuncture for Depression” further confirms acupuncture’s health benefits. In the NIH’s review of a total of 29 studies which included 2268 participants, they found that:
“Acupuncture showed clinically-relevant benefits in reducing the severity of depression.”3
Do you have issues with depression, anxiety, or stress?
If you feel like you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or stress? If you are interested in discovering how acupuncture can help you regain your natural well-being, feel free to call Dr. Julie Tran-Olive at (408) 792-7229 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
1 US News and World Report (2022, September 19). Depression Affects Almost 1 in 10 Americans. Usnews.com. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
2 Brennan, D., MD (2021, March 25). What to Know About Acupuncture for Depression. Webmd.com. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
3 Armour, M., MD, Smith, C. A., Wang, L. Q., Naidoo, D., Yang, G. Y., MacPherson, H., Lee, M. S., & Hay, P. (2019, August 8). Acupuncture for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved February 15, 2023.