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How Acupuncture Affects Our Mental Health

Updated: 9 hours ago

Lately, alternative therapies have been all the rage as folks look for more holistic ways to stay healthy. Acupuncture, an ancient practice, is in the spotlight for not just easing aches and pains, but also for giving mental well-being a boost. It's not just about physical relief anymore; acupuncture is getting noticed for its positive effects on mental health. Let's dive into how acupuncture can brighten our mood and why it's a top pick for those on the lookout for natural ways to keep their emotions in check!

The Science Behind Acupuncture and Mental Health

While the mechanisms behind acupuncture's effects on mental health:

  1. Neurotransmitter Regulation: Acupuncture may influence the release and activity of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, which play crucial roles in mood regulation and emotional well-being. Studies have shown that acupuncture can modulate these neurotransmitter levels, potentially alleviating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

  2. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can take a toll on mental health, contributing to conditions like anxiety and depression. Acupuncture has been found to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing the body's stress response. By lowering cortisol levels and promoting a state of calm, acupuncture may help manage stress-related symptoms.

  3. Brain Imaging Studies: Advanced imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have provided insights into how acupuncture affects the brain. Research suggests that acupuncture can influence various brain regions involved in mood regulation, including the limbic system and prefrontal cortex. These findings support the idea that acupuncture has measurable effects on brain activity associated with mental health.

  4. Inflammation Reduction: Inflammation has been linked to mental health disorders, with research indicating that chronic inflammation may contribute to the development and progression of conditions like depression and anxiety. Acupuncture has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially mitigating inflammation-related symptoms and promoting mental well-being.

The Potential Benefits for Mental Health:

The growing body of research on acupuncture and mental health suggests that it may offer several benefits:

  • Relief from Depression and Anxiety: Clinical trials have demonstrated that acupuncture can be as effective as conventional treatments such as medication or psychotherapy in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some individuals may also prefer acupuncture due to its minimal side effects and non-pharmacological nature.

  • Improved Sleep Quality: Sleep disturbances are common among those with mental health conditions, exacerbating symptoms and reducing overall well-being. Acupuncture has been shown to improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and addressing underlying factors contributing to sleep disturbances.

  • Stress Management: Acupuncture's ability to modulate the body's stress response can be beneficial for individuals experiencing high levels of stress or burnout. Regular acupuncture sessions may help promote resilience to stress and enhance coping mechanisms.

Incorporating Acupuncture into Mental Health Care:

Acupuncture offers a holistic approach to mental health that addresses the interconnectedness of the mind and body. By promoting relaxation, modulating neurotransmitter levels, and reducing inflammation, acupuncture has the potential to play a valuable role in supporting emotional well-being and enhancing overall quality of life.

Chinese Red Date Tea
Add 2 Chinese Red Dates (Da Zao) + 6 Goji Berries to a mug and steep it. Drink throughout the day.

A tea that is great for calming the mind is Chinese Red Dates + goji berries. Steeped in hot water you can enjoy this throughout your day. It also has benefits for better sleep.


Kelsey Bru is a licensed acupuncturist and TCM Herbalist in Cumberland, British Columbia. She loves working with women's health, hormones, menopause, fertility, mental health, and beyond through her online articles and at her clinic, The Remedy Room, on Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay. Call for an appointment at 250-800-7738.

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