Depression is associated with the emotions of sadness, melancholy, and general malaise. Unfortunately, depression is having a significant impact in our society. Increasing demands on our time from family, work, and personal needs can create a state of imbalance that is difficult to escape. Chinese medicine has effective treatments for anxiety and depression and may be combined with western medications if you are already taking a prescription.

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Some signs of depression:

  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Worthlessness
  • Shame


Anyone suffering with the above symptoms should take a positive step towards treatment. If you are opposed to western medications, acupuncture and Chinese herbs may be a terrific alternative for you.

Acupuncture for Depression

Acupuncture effectively treats mild to moderate depression and may be used in conjunction to western medications. By correcting imbalances in the Liver, Kidney energies, people can begin to feel well within the first few weeks of treatment.

The Role of the Liver in Depression

The liver in Chinese medicine is different than the traditional western organ of the liver. It is assigned both physical and emotional attributes.

The liver:

  • Stores and cleans the blood
  • Moves Qi (energy) throughout the body
  • Is in charge of “Planning”
  • Is associated with the emotions of Anger, Frustration, Depression

Uncontrolled and excessive emotions can affect any organ, but when they affect the liver they cause stagnation and impaired energy flow throughout the body. This condition is known as Liver Qi Stagnation.

Liver Qi Stagnation Symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Frequent sighing
  • Shallow breathing
  • Tightness below the rib cage
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia (waking 1-3 AM)
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Irregular and painful menses
  • Headaches

The Role of the Kidney in Depression

The kidney has many important functions in Chinese Medicine. In the context of depression, the kidney is an important storehouse of energy. When depleted by overwork, poor dietary and health habits, and lack of rest, one can feel tired or enervated.

The kidneys are also responsible for our essence, or our “inherited” strength we receive from our parents. The strength of one’s essence determines both constitutional and psychological strength. A weakness of essence is a significant factor in inherited psychological conditions like severe depression, bi-polar disorder, and schizophrenia.

These conditions are known as Kidney Yang and Essence Deficiency.

Kidney Yang and Essence Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Frequent urination
  • Diarrhea (especially in the early morning)
  • Heat in the palms and feet
  • “Empty” or dull headaches