Acupuncture for Mental Health

Acupuncture for Mental Health.

Chronic stress, anxiety and depression are the most common and disabling mental health concerns in modern society. They are often experienced as a complex set of emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms.

People with anxiety disorder frequently experience unpleasant feelings of worry or fear accompanied by physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, digestive complaints, trembling, irritability, sweating and hot flashes.

Depression is characterised by low energy, mood and low self-esteem, poor concentration, negative thoughts and emotions, and loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities. Appetite, body weight and sleep are also commonly affected.

Is Acupuncture Effective for Mental Health?

Don't just take our word for it. The following clinical trials have scientifically examined the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for mental health.

Only reputable papers recently published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years are listed below.



Annals of General Psychiatry
Effectiveness of acupuncture on anxiety disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Annals of General Psychiatry International Society of Neurobiology and Psychopharmacology

The study suggest that acupuncture therapy showed beneficial effects in reducing anxiety in patients with anxiety disorder. It indicated that acupuncture is more effective than western medicine. It also further suggests that acupuncture works better in earlier stages.

2021, Jan 30 • Yang, Xy., Yang, Nb., Huang, Ff. et al. Full Article

Programme Grants for Applied Research
Acupuncture, Counselling or Usual Care for Depression (ACUDep): a randomised controlled trial
Programme Grants for Applied Research NHS National Institutes for Health Research

Our evidence on acupuncture compared with usual care and counselling compared with usual care shows that both treatments are associated with a statistically significant reduction in symptoms of depression in the short to medium term, with no reported serious adverse events related to treatment. Acupuncture is cost-effective compared with counselling or usual care alone, although the ranking of counselling and acupuncture depends on the relative costs of delivering these interventions.

2017, Jan • MacPherson H, Vickers A, Bland M, et al. Full Article

The Brazilian Journal of Nursing
Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review
The Brazilian Journal of Nursing Brazilian Nursing Association

Acupuncture seems to be a promising treatment for anxiety; however, there is a need for improving the methodological quality of the research on this field.

2016, Jun • Goyata SL, Avelino CC, Santos SV, Souza Junior DI, Gurgel MD, Terra FS Full Article

Explore: The Journal of Science & Healing
Schizophrenia and Depression: A systematic Review of the Effectiveness and the Working Mechanisms Behind Acupuncture
Explore: The Journal of Science & Healing

From the evidence found in this study, acupuncture seems to be an effective add-on treatment in patients with depression and, to a lesser degree, in patients with schizophrenia, but large well-designed studies are needed to confirm that evidence.

2015, Jul • Bosch P, van den Noort M, Staudte H, Lim S. Full Article

Medical Care
Randomized effectiveness trial of a brief course of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder
Medical Care American Public Health Association

Acupuncture was effective for reducing PTSD symptoms. Limitations included small sample size and inability to parse specific treatment mechanisms. Acupuncture is a novel therapeutic option that may help to improve population reach of PTSD treatment.

2014, Dec • Engel CC, Cordova EH, Benedek DM, Liu X, Gore KL, Goertz C, et al. Full Article

Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies
Could Acupuncture Be Useful in the Treatment of Temporomandibular Dysfunction?
Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies Medical Association of Pharmacopuncture Institute

Acupuncture reduced the intensity of TMD pain and promoted the benefits of mandibular movement. When the treatments were compared, both reduced pain intensity and increased mouth opening equally, and may be considered strategies for control of chronic pain related to TMD.

2014, Dec • Grillo CM, Canales Gde L, Wada RS, Alves MC, Barbosa CM, Berzin F, et al. Full Article

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Acupuncture for schizophrenia
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Cochrane

Limited evidence suggests that acupuncture may have some antipsychotic effects as measured on global and mental state with few adverse effects. Better designed large studies are needed to fully and fairly test the effects of acupuncture for people with schizophrenia

2014, Oct • Shen X, Xia J, Adams CE. Full Article

Acupuncture and relaxation response for craving and anxiety reduction among military veterans in recovery from substance use disorder

The study indicated that acupuncture is highly effective with increasing relaxation response for military veterans. It showed that both craving and anxiety levels continued to drop as study participants seek long term therapy. It also showed the importance for the care of military personnel and for veterans who have recently returned from active duty.

2014, Mar • Chang, B. H., & Sommers, E. Full Article

European Journal of Integrative Medicine
Acupuncture treatment for depression—A systematic review and meta-analysis
European Journal of Integrative Medicine

Current evidence from this meta-analysis of randomized trials shows that acupuncture is effective in reducing severity of depression and that TCM- and electro acupuncture may have similar effect as current usual care.

2011, Dec • Trine Stub, Terje Alræk, Jianping Liu Full Article


Acupuncture points
Acupuncture is comparable with morphine preparations in its effectiveness against chronic pain, but without the adverse effects of morphine, such as dependency. Acupuncture : review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials
World Health Organization, Geneva 2002