• Lori Hsu, L.Ac.

Acupuncture and Mental Health

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Everyone encounters emotional distress or major upheavals in our lives that can trigger a wide range of unexpected feelings, major disruptions to our daily functioning (sleep, exercise, and diet), or clinical disorders (depression, anxiety, and PTSD). In Chinese medicine, mental health problems are viewed as imbalances between the yin and yang energies of the body, including consideration of lifestyle, diet, and constitution. Our body is made up of a living energy called Qi, and this energy circulates the body, including the major organs, through channels or meridians. Emotional and physical disruptions produce an imbalance of qi in the meridians which then often manifest as obstructions and stagnation that acupuncture and moxibustion can address. Acupuncture can be an adequate modality for treating mental health issues because treatment plans are customized and designed to address root causes of patterns by helping to restore balance at all levels, body, and mind.

This is how acupuncture and moxibustion helps:

  • Acupuncture raises the level of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are neurotransmitters naturally produced in the brain to fight pain. They can also positively affect the mood.

  • Acupuncture can lower blood pressure through the parasympathetic response and induce relaxation, blood vessel dilation, increase circulation, decrease anxiety and treat sleeplessness to help patients better regulate their emotions and responses to stress.

  • Acupuncture and moxibustion can help regulate serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects our emotional state, and also is related to our body's ability to cope with stress.

No one needs to go through recovery alone. Your acupuncturist is here to help you regain balance in your body and mind.


Chinese herbology can relieve emotional distress by treating the root cause of the mental state. In conjunction with acupuncture, herbal therapy can help restore balance in the body and mind. Chinese herbal medicine is often prescribed in these two ways:

  • Patent formulas – used to treat common for anxiety, PMS, headaches, depression, low energy, palpitations.

  • Custom formulas – no two patients and pain manifestation and type are alike; this is why our pharmacy can prepare custom formulas tailored to each case.

Upon requesting for herbal medicine, please inform us of all medications you are currently taking as some herbs may have adverse reactions to certain pharmaceuticals.


A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests the diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health,” says Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. “A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.” A healthy diet is also related to a healthy microbiota, which is related to our body's ability to produce serotonin for emotional regulation.

Reprinted with permission from original author


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