Can Acupuncture Help with Anxiety?


Acupuncture can help with anxiety, generally speaking. On the one hand, lots of research studies on acupuncture’s effectiveness in anxiety treatment have been conducted, and the results indicate that acupuncture has a success rate greater than the placebo (Li et al., 2019). But on the other hand, the types of anxiety that acupuncture can treat more and the types that it can treat less successfully remain unclear (Yang et al., 2021). Another issue is that scientists do not know exactly how acupuncture works. They keep finding new biochemical mechanisms that acupuncture triggers, but their number and complexity makes too much room for assumptions, and researchers prefer to run highly organized experiments, so they would be able to gather more specific evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness, rather than rely on theories of how it may work.

Can Acupuncture Help with Depression?

Acupuncture can be effective in helping with depression treatment. It appears to be particularly effective in treatment of mild depression (Yang et al., 2022), but it appears to be capable of reducing the severity of depression with a greater number of acupuncture sessions (Armour et al., 2019). Acupuncture appears to be effective as a stand-alone treatment or as “a suitable adjunct to usual care and standard anti-depressant medication” (Armour et al., 2019). While evidence does not indicate that acupuncture is more effective than the standard care, acupuncture appears to have stronger effects when done for longer period of time with a greater number of sessions. Considering that acupuncture is low cost, however, it can be very useful.

Can Acupuncture Help Me with Anxiety or Depression?

It’s important to keep in mind that acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, in general, do not treat specific health issues. Their goal is to restore the optimal balance among internal organs in patients, helping the body to resolve the health issue on its own. For this reason, the acupuncture success rate varies not so much depending on the type of health issue but, rather, on each individual patient’s state of health and wellbeing. As always, at the Advanced Holistic Center, our acupuncturists design individualized treatment, depending on each patient’s needs and circumstances.


  1. Armour, M., Smith, C. A., Wang, L. Q., Naidoo, D., Yang, G. Y., MacPherson, H., … & Hay, P. (2019). Acupuncture for depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of clinical medicine8(8), 1140.
  2. Li, M., Xing, X., Yao, L., Li, X., He, W., Wang, M., … & Yang, K. (2019). Acupuncture for treatment of anxiety, an overview of systematic reviews. Complementary therapies in medicine43, 247-252.
  3. Yang, N. N., Lin, L. L., Li, Y. J., Li, H. P., Cao, Y., Tan, C. X., … & Liu, C. Z. (2022). Potential Mechanisms and Clinical Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Depression. Current Neuropharmacology20(4), 738-750.
  4. Yang, X. Y., Yang, N. B., Huang, F. F., Ren, S., & Li, Z. J. (2021). Effectiveness of acupuncture on anxiety disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Annals of general psychiatry20(1), 1-14.