Depression Relief
– Acupuncture And Beyond


Depression Relief – Acupuncture And Beyond

Do you know that acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization as a legitimate depression relief and treatment? [1]

Indeed, in a previous article, we have discussed how research on acupuncture and depression has provided evidences for the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating depression.

In a second article, we have also covered the specifics of how acupuncture is actually being used in treating depression and what to expect of the acupuncture sessions.

In this third article, we will be looking at some acupuncture-related therapies (e.g. acupressure, auricular acupuncture) that can similarly be used in dealing with depression.


A non-invasive alternative to acupuncture is acupressure. With acupressure, the same beneficial acupoints are used to achieve depression relief. However, instead of needles, pressure is applied via hands and fingers on the same acupoints without piercing the skin. [2, 3]

Acupressure can actually be a form of self-help, since it is non-invasive and relatively safe and easy to use. Of course, given that acupressure is less able to reach the deeper parts of the body, understandably, the effects of acupressure may be more limited as compared to that of acupuncture. [3]

Types of pressure to use

The pressure over the acupoints can be applied using fingers, knuckles, palms or thumbs. In turn, the various motions have the following effects [3]:

  • pressure applied continuously for about 30s to 1 min can help ease pain, relieve stress and calm the nervous system

  • circular motions on acupoints can help to sedate or stimulate these points
  • rhythmic squeezing and releasing motions (like kneading bread) can help to relieve stiffness
  • harsh rubbing motions can help increase the flow of Qi, warm the acupoints and reduce swelling
  • tapping on acupoints can help stimulate these points

Acupoints to use

The following acupoints have been suggested for acupressure to achieve depression relief [3]:

  • Lung Meridian 1 (LU 1, 中府) – for easing of anxiety and depression

  • Stomach Meridian 36 (ST 36, 足三里) – restores energy and well-being and soothes digestion problems
  • Bladder Meridian 23 (BL 23, 肾俞) – for depression accompanied by fear or fatigue
  • Ren Meridian 17 (RN 17, 月亶 中) – for depression caused by grief or worsened by anxiety

Auricular acupuncture

Another alternative to acupuncture is auricular acupuncture, or ear acupuncture. Auricular acupuncture uses a set of acupuncture points which are specifically found on the ear and hence are different from the acupoints used in normal acupuncture. [4]

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