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Acupuncture for Depression: Achieve Wellness Through Holistic Healing

acupuncture for depression
Photo by Eli DeFaria/


According to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Furthermore, there’s a staggering 450 million people around the world who suffer from mental health disorders. Thus, it’s one of the leading causes of ill-health and disability. In the US, about 42.5 million American adults suffer from some mental illness every year. These conditions include depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.


One of the major concerns of patients suffering from these conditions are the continual use of synthetic drugs as maintenance. There are also side effects to these drugs that can affect a person’s well-being. Prescription drugs only target a specific issue, or have a singular therapeutic effect, that may not address other issues which a person needs to treat. However, mental health disorders affect an individual’s entire being – emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. If you’re looking for a treatment that will address all health concerns connected to your mental health, acupuncture for depression can provide a way for you to achieve holistic healing.



Studies on Acupuncture for Depression

There have been studies from around the world that confirm the positive health benefits of acupuncture for mental health disorders. John Allen from the University of Arizona and the acupuncturist Rosa Schnyer conducted one such study. They studied the effect of acupuncture for depression on patients for a period of eight weeks. The findings consequently suggested that using acupuncture alone could be effective as other treatments for relieving symptoms of depression.


Photo via Pixabay


How Acupuncture Can Help You Achieve Better Mental Health

Each person suffering from a mental health issue will have a specific treatment method uniquely catered to them. For example, not all patients are the same, as they have different physiologies and unique concerns. If there are 20 people suffering from anxiety, each one of them will have their own customized treatment of different acupuncture points, prescription of different herbs, and different recommendations for diet and lifestyle. This is because Oriental Medicine doesn’t see a mental disorder as just one syndrome to address, it aims to treat various symptoms that affect a person.


Traditional Chinese Medicine addresses five elements when it comes to helping a person achieve wellness. These are the following:


Water (Kidney) – Connected to feelings of depression and lack of will

Metal (Lung) – Related to sadness or grief

Earth (Spleen) – Correlates to worry, anxiety and pensiveness

Fire (Heart) – Related to over-excitation and mania

Wood (Liver) – Can be connected to stress, anger, bitterness, resentment, frustration and jealousy


Your treatment plan will target an imbalance of these elements. In this case, Acupuncture can help treat the root cause of the problem by rebalancing the body’s internal environment. Needles will be inserted at specific points to remove blockages and promote better energy flow in the body. It can then help alleviate symptoms associated with the disorder.



After an Acupuncture Session

There will be a brief moment of discomfort when a needle is inserted on certain body points. While the needles are there, you will barely feel anything. Some could feel an immediate effect after a session, while people with more chronic ailments would require regular follow-up treatments. The best thing about acupuncture is that it has virtually zero side effects. Those that receive acupuncture for their anxiety see results after just one session. The restoration of balance within the body provides many physical, mental and emotional benefits.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Book A Session with a Licensed Acupuncturist Now

Santa Barbara Herb Clinic offers a wide variety of holistic healing treatments for modern-day ailments. Here, you can also seek out acupuncture for depression and other similar issues. Your session with our licensed acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner will include a thorough assessment and unique treatment specifically catered to your health concerns. Book a session now and start your journey towards holistic health and wellness.




5 Ways Acupuncture Benefits Your Mental and Emotional Health | Botanica Wellness –


Learning & Resource Center Articles | Acufinder –


Mental Disorders Affect One in Four People | World Health Organization –

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Suffers From Mental Illness Each Year
Victoria Bekiempis –

Acupuncture for Anxiety: How Acupuncture Can Help Calm You Down


Finding ways to improve your mental health can be tough, but acupuncture for anxiety can be a viable option. About 44 million adults in America suffer from an anxiety disorder — disorders that can impact a person’s life in various ways. However, it can be difficult to find the right medication or the right therapist that can help you with your issues. Fortunately, acupuncture can help you take back control of your life.


acupuncture for anxiety
Photo by Sydney Sims/


What is anxiety?

Anxiety was actually instrumental in the survival of our species. Our ancestors developed mechanisms that protected them from potential danger. In dangerous situations, such as the approach of a predatory animal, the body would sound the alarm in the form of an increase in adrenaline. The adrenaline would, in turn, cause an increase in awareness, sweating, and a faster heartbeat.


This is what we call our “fight-or-flight” response. It allowed our ancestors to think and act quickly in pressing situations, which allowed them to increase their chances of survival. However, most humans in modern times don’t have to worry about outrunning and escaping large predators. Even so, this fight-or-flight instinct has not left us.


Anxiety in a nutshell

We all experience anxiety in varying degrees and varying situations. You may feel anxiety because you’re late for class for the nth time this semester, or because your boss has called you into their office. You may feel anxiety over an ailing loved one, or because you’re entering an unfamiliar, potentially dangerous place.


Feeling anxiety is normal — to a certain extent, that is. However, when your anxiety becomes persistent, becomes more intense that it should be in a given situation, or begins to affect your daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.


When anxiety becomes a disorder

There are many stressors around us that can trigger anxiety. However, when your anxiety seems disproportionately intense compared to its trigger, or you experience physical symptoms such as nausea or dizziness, it’s possible that an anxiety disorder is in the works. It’s also possible that an anxiety attack may occur without an obvious trigger.


There are different types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and phobia. All these types are different in nature, but at they can all affect the way you function in your everyday life.


How anxiety can affect you

Anxiety can affect you in a variety of ways. You may experience sudden but passing feelings of fear and terror, accompanied by physical symptoms such as breathing issues, increased heart rate, dizziness, and shakiness. It’s also possible that you begin changing your behavior or avoiding certain things or situations to avoid panic or anxiety attacks.


These symptoms can have a significant impact on your everyday life, and you may feel compelled to take drastic measures to avoid triggers. Going through an anxiety attack can also be extremely unpleasant, and finding ways to avoid it is vital to your physical, mental, and social well-being.


There are certain medications and techniques that can help you deal with anxiety, but you can also turn to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for relief.


Acupuncture for anxiety

acupuncture for anxiety
Can acupuncture help you with anxiety? Photo by Dingzeyu Li/


Acupuncture is one of the most important components of TCM. While there is still a dearth of research on the subject, studies have found that acupuncture can potentially be helpful in dealing with anxiety. At worst, it will have no effect on your anxiety, but at least it can benefit you in other ways.


While acupuncture has not been scientifically proven to cure anxiety disorders, it does provide relief from the symptoms during the treatment. It can be an important component of a multi-part treatment plan to help cope with anxiety. If you for any reason can’t take medication for your anxiety, or if you’re struggling with therapy, acupuncture for anxiety can help you keep your fears and worries in check.


Acupuncture basics

TCM bases its techniques on principles that differ from the principles of Western medicine. For one thing, in TCM, treatments are based on the symptoms experienced by the individual. In Western medicine, however, treatments are based on the nature of the ailment itself.


Acupuncture and TCM are also based on the principle that a life force called qi (pronounced “chee”) governs our health and emotional well-being. Qi flows through different parts of the body along markers called meridians. When the flow of qi is disturbed or becomes concentrated around certain meridians, it can result in an illness.


The flow of qi can be corrected with the use of hair-thin needles that are inserted into specific acupuncture points. These needles stimulate these points and push the flow of qi back into its normal path.


How acupuncture helps with anxiety

Scientific research on acupuncture for anxiety is still limited, and the results are somewhat mixed. Some studies claim that acupuncture can indeed reduce the symptoms of people with generalized anxiety disorder. However, later studies also claim that the previous research had been designed poorly.


Still, a more recent study on rats concluded that there is a possibility that acupuncture may be able to affect a person’s fight-or-flight instinct. There is also evidence that acupuncture may be able to help reduce the body’s stress response by regulating the production of stress hormones and inducing the production of endorphins.


Even though the research on acupuncture for anxiety isn’t comprehensive yet, it does show promise. However, this doesn’t have to stop you from undergoing acupuncture, since there’s no evidence that the procedure could worsen anxiety. Thus, there is very low risk but there can also be significant reward.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture has been found to be generally safe, with very low risk of side effects. You may feel some tingling or a feeling of heaviness after a session. However, practitioners consider this to be a sign that the treatment is working.


Usually, when acupuncture has negative effects, it’s not related to the treatment itself. A possible side effect is due to the use of unsanitized needles, which can cause infections.  However, licensed and experienced acupuncturists take care to sanitize their needles. These needles are only used once and only on one patient.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you won’t have to worry about infections or inexperienced practitioners. Our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram Pham, has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles. She also has years of experience with acupuncture and other practices in TCM. With her as your Acupuncturist, you’ll be in good hands.


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

Dr. Jean Yu founded the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic in 1986. Since then, it has been providing the people of Santa Barbara with holistic and all-natural healthcare. Tram took over the clinic from its second long-time proprietor, the late Dr. Han, and has been continuing to provide the clinic’s services since then.


Interested in acupuncture for anxiety? You can call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at We are open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm. You can also have a consultation with Tram over the phone or via video call.