A number of studies have been done testing the ability of acupuncture to reduce the symptoms of depression. In many instances, the results were better than counseling and anti-depressants.
Most depression in Chinese medicine is viewed as a liver disharmony. The emotion attached to the liver is anger. When anger and resentment have been repressed for a very long time, the sides of the tongue will be red, the pulse wiry, perhaps a red face, and the blood pressure elevated. The person may be boistrous and walk fast, or the anger may go so deep that there is absolute calm and control. This is referred to as liver qi depression. The liver controls the smooth flow of qi and blood in the body. If the flow is disrupted, qi and blood stagnate and cause depression and a myriad of other symptoms.
Successful treatment for liver qi depression includes specific points that will reduce the stagnation and move qi and blood. In addition, an herbal formula specifically formulated for this condition is prescribed.
Certain kinds of depression involve an imbalance in the neurotransmitters of the brain. specifically serotonin. Often times it is genetic. In these cases, electroacupuncture is used to stimulate serotonin, the neurotransmitter that sends information to different areas of the brain and affects practically every area of our lives including mood, appetite and memory. Many chemical antidepressant medications are designed to keep more of this neurotransmitter available so that the brain functions well and the mood remains elevated. Thankfully, acupuncture can do the same thing with tiny electrical impulses from needles placed on specific points on the face and head. It is absolutely painless and very relaxing.