Depression

Depression is a common mental health problem that affects people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. About two-thirds of adults will at some time experience depression severe enough to interfere with their normal activities.

Studies indicate that acupuncture can have a specific positive effect on depression by altering the brain’s mood chemistry and increasing the production of serotonin and endorphins. Acupuncture may also benefit depression by acting through other neurochemical pathways, including those involving dopamine, noradrenaline, cortisol, and neuropeptide Y. 

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Studies indicate that acupuncture treatment for depression can have a specific positive effect on depression by altering the brain’s mood chemistry and increasing the production of serotonin and endorphins. Acupuncture may also benefit depression by acting through other neurochemical pathways, including those involving dopamine, noradrenaline, cortisol, and neuropeptide Y. 

Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promote relaxation and deactivate the ‘analytical’ brain which is responsible for anxiety and worry.  Stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry may be reversed.

Some of the most recent research suggests that depression is associated with dysfunction in the way that parts of the resting brain interact with each other; acupuncture has been shown to be capable of changing the ‘default mode network’ – the circuitry that is associated with the sense of self and one’s identity.

Acupuncture can be safely combined with conventional medical treatments such as anti-depressants, helping to reduce their side effects and enhance their beneficial effects.

Acupuncture treatment can also help resolve physical ailments such as chronic pain, which may be a contributing cause of depression. In addition to offering acupuncture and related therapies, acupuncturists will often make suggestions as to dietary and other lifestyle changes that may be helpful in overcoming depression. Finally, people struggling to cope with depression usually find that coming to see a supportive therapist on a regular basis is helpful.