Are you having challenges concentrating, feeling motivated to participate with family friends, or activities? Do you find yourself feeling hopeless, emptiness, or struggling to get restful sleep?  

Can acupuncture help you and be a part of your treatment plan for depression? 

In this article, we will look at what depression is, what research there is for depression for acupuncture, how it works, how many sessions to expect, costs, FAQ, acupuncture points for depression, and so much more. 

Let’s get started . . . 

What is Depression?

According to the National Insitute of Mental Health, depression is a mood disorder and condition that presents itself in symptoms that impact how a person: 

Although there are many types of depression and feeling blue can come and go for everyone, a diagnosis of depression is only given if a person experiences symptoms for a minimum of 14 days or two-weeks. 

Now that we have an idea of what depression is let’s take a look at what the research says about acupuncture and depression. . . 


Over time, there have been many studies that evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for depression. As more studies have been conducted around acupuncture for depression and the effectiveness of acupuncture for a treatment option of conditions, new findings havings, and evidence of the effectiveness of acupuncture are emerging. 

For example, one study published in the Medical Acupuncture Journal published in 2005 found that there was insufficient evidence to conclude whether acupuncture is an effective treatment for depression; however, it did find that further trials and studies of electroacupuncture should be conducted and were justifiable based on the findings of the study. 

While another study published in the same journal eight years later in 2013, focused on the impact of improving symptoms of depression in women. This study found that there was high-level evidence to support the use of acupuncture for treating a major depressive disorder in pregnancy.

So how does acupuncture work for depression? Let’s find out. . . 

How It Works

How acupuncture works is not fully understood. In an acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist inserts and manipulates fine needles at specific points or combinations of points on your body that relate to the energy flow in your body based on the traditional East Asian meridians and energy channels. 

This energy is also known as chi or qi. There is a relationship between these points and channels with your organs and health, and with the symptoms of disease and dysfunction, you may experience, including pain or depression.

How Many Sessions?

The most frequent question people ask is: how many sessions of acupuncture will I need for depression? Research studies suggest a minimum of six treatments over five weeks to show significant improvement for the treatment of depression. For pain, on-going treatment may be needed, as symptoms may lessen for a time after the acupuncture treatment but may return later.


Acupuncture costs vary by area and practitioner. With an average cost of $75 per treatment, you may expect to pay up to $300 a month for weekly acupuncture treatments. Utilizing community acupuncture may lessen the cost and improve your ability to experience acupuncture on a regular basis.

Frequently asked questions

Does acupuncture work for depression?

Yes, studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating depression. 

Does Medicare cover depression?

No, Medicare doesn’t cover acupuncture for depression. The only condition Medicare will cover acupuncture for is chronic low back pain.

How often should I get acupuncture for depression?

It is advisable to discuss the frequency of your acupuncture treatments for depression with a professional acupuncturist in your area.

Acupuncture Points for Depression

It is important to remember that acupuncture treatment is often an individualized and personalized treatment based on your needs. The points selected by an acupuncturist to treat depression for one patient may be different than another. 

Through studies, though, different acupuncture points have been shown through research to be effective and helpful for depression: 

Other Alternatives 

There are many complementary and alternative therapies that may help with depression, including:

Getting Started

Before getting started with acupuncture for depression, be sure to talk with your physician or medical professional about getting a proper medical diagnosis and what treatment recommendations are appropriate for your condition. 

Work with a professional acupuncturist in your area to determine how acupuncture may best help you and the frequency of treatment that’s right for you.


Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from 

E;, M. Y. (n.d.). The effectiveness of acupuncture for depression–a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from 

Schroer, S., & Adamson, J. (2011, October). Acupuncture for depression: A critique of the evidence base. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from 

Sniezek, D. P., & Siddiqui, I. J. (2013, June). Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from 

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Acupuncture. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from