The rising incidence of anxiety and depression is affecting more women than men. Managing these mental health issues is often challenging and usually involves medication that could have side effects. Acupuncture, a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine for nearly three millennia, has recently gained traction as a holistic alternative for relieving stress and depression.

What Acupuncture Entails

In New York City, acupuncture involves the gentle insertion of ultra-fine needles into specific areas of the body. The placement of these needles is determined by the patient’s specific health issues. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, anxiety and depression are seen as serious conditions that could signify a broader imbalance within the body. According to this philosophy, when ‘Qi’ or the life force is imbalanced, it could manifest as depression or anxiety. During treatment, needles are placed at certain nerve points to stimulate them, thereby triggering the immune system and releasing endorphins, our natural painkillers, which help in bodily healing.

Understanding Depression and Anxiety

Depression manifests in extreme sadness and low energy, with symptoms such as:

  • Severe fatigue and disinterest
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Weight loss and diminished appetite
  • Irritability over trivial matters
  • Feeling of worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep issues

Anxiety, on the other hand, is characterized by excessive worry so severe it interferes with daily activities. Symptoms may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Focus issues

Though medications and therapy are the standard treatment options for these conditions, they are not effective for everyone. Nearly 34% of people with anxiety and depression do not respond to treatment, and about half of those treated for depression experience relapse.

The Benefits of Acupuncture for Mental Health


Research shows that acupuncture can relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety and even alter the body’s reaction to stressors, preventing the advancement of these disorders.

Release of Endorphins

Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, natural hormones that act as painkillers, promoting overall healing and blood circulation.

Natural Alternative

Unlike conventional medications, which often come with side effects, acupuncture offers a side-effect-free alternative for treating mental health issues.

Safe for Expectant Mothers

Medications are usually not advised for pregnant women suffering from anxiety or depression. Acupuncture serves as a safer alternative in such instances.


The procedure induces anti-inflammatory responses in the body, countering chronic inflammation that could lead to depression.

Holistic Healing

Beyond relaxation and mood enhancement, acupuncture promotes healing throughout the body, offering an all-encompassing wellness approach.

Potential Risks

While generally safe, some minor side effects of acupuncture include temporary bleeding, bruising, and even nausea. Rare but severe side effects could include organ puncture, infections, or broken needles lodged under the skin. It’s crucial to opt for a certified and experienced acupuncturist to minimize risks.

In conclusion, acupuncture may offer a viable alternative for mitigating symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, it should not replace medical treatment in severe cases. Effectiveness varies and multiple sessions may be required to see noticeable improvements.