Which Acupuncture for Depression points might your acupuncturist use?

Just remember - there are no such things as 'acupuncture for depression points'! What we are cheerfully calling such here are acupuncture points that are used in a variety of ways and for a variety of syndromes. It's just that here we are using them for syndromes related to depression.

To understand more about this, read Acupuncture for Depression.

Qi Deficiency

For qi deficiency, probably one or more of the following: Lung 9, Stomach 36, Bladder 13, Triple Burner 4, Large Intestine 4. Probably not all of them because your acupuncturist only wants to do enough to stimulate your body to improve itself.

You, the patient, should eat warm foods and be kept warm, and avoid cold or frozen food or drinks.

Your acupuncturist can advise you on many vital nutritional matters besides doing acupuncture. (You can undo his treatment benefits if you ignore his nutritional advice - it can be that important!)

Too much treatment, even for acupuncture for depression, can be detrimental, especially where there is great weakness.

There are many other points which would be used as well, but these depends on the particular reasons for the deficiency. For example, if there were also Kidney qi deficiency, acupuncture points for that would also be used.

Liver Qi Stagnation type depression

The classic acupuncture point is Liver 3, but he might also use other points on that meridian, with Gall-bladder 34 or Gall-Bladder 41, depending on where you felt discomfort.

Also, or alternatively, Bladder 18, or points on the Pericardium channel, such as Pericardium 6. He might also use points on the head, such as Du 20, to send qi downwards, away from the head, leaving you less irritable and calmer. Another main point is Large Intestine 4 which does something similar.

Actually, Liver qi stagnation can go far beyond the symptoms above. By interfering with the flow of body fluids and the normal transformative processes, it can lead in time to many other, deeper and more intractable forms of depression, and physical changes in your body that become harder to treat the longer they remain.

The following syndromes used with acupuncture for depression are very common but as you'll see if you read on they become a little more complex, because various syndromes can morph into other syndromes.

Deficiency of Blood or Yin

Here, acupuncture for depression points' are chosen on the Spleen, Liver, Kidney or Lung meridians according to where the deficiency arises first.

  • If Spleen deficiency: Stomach 36 and Spleen 6, Bladder 20. 
  • If Liver blood deficiency: Bladder 17 and 18, Liver 8 and 3
  • If Liver Yin deficiency, treatment would also be on the Kidney meridian: Bladder 23, Kidney 3, Kidney 10, 6. 
  • If Lung qi is a cause, Bladder 13, Lung 7, 9, Stomach 36 and Spleen 6.

Yang Excess

Acupuncture for depression points (Remember! no such things!) here aim to calm excess Liver yang or fire: Liver 2, 3, Du 20, Gall bladder 20 and 21, Large Intestine 4. Bladder 18.

If Yang excess is because of Yin deficiency, use points like Bladder 23, Kidney 3, Liver 8, Kidney 2, Heart 6, Ren 4.

Disturbed Shen

For disturbed Shen, (and remember that there are no acupuncture for depression points as such): Bladder 15, Ren 14, Heart 7, Pericardium 6. If there is Heart deficiency, add Stomach 36 and Spleen 6 (for qi deficiency), Kidney 6 and 10 for Heart yin deficiency and if courage is lacking, add Gall Bladder 40.

Phlegm and Damp

For Phlegm and Damp, use 'acupuncture for depression' points like Stomach 40, Spleen 9, Ren 9, Large Intestine 4, Ren 17, Ren 12, Gall Bladder 17 and 18.

Of course, the points mentioned are only a selection of what an acupuncturist might do. He might also use points in your ear.

Could you Treat Yourself?

Knowing the points mentioned above, could you treat yourself?

Well, of course, you could, if you could reach them. Some of these so-called 'acupuncture for depression points' are inaccessible unless you are double-jointed!

But it's not a good idea.

For one thing you need to take your own pulse the Chinese way and interpret it and the condition of your tongue before starting treatment, because doing this helps a trained acupuncturist refine his diagnosis and improve his treatment.

Unless your D.I.Y. acupuncture for depression treatment rests on sound principles you may get it wrong: then how would you feel?

However, there's a deeper reason for getting someone else to do acupuncture for depression for you. If you're sick (by which I mean, not feeling in good health), you may easily take sick decisions, for example about which acupuncture points to use and how to use them. That uncertainty may upset your treatment.

There's yet another reason for seeking treatment from someone else. Letting someone else take responsibility for treating you relieves you of the worry of getting it right. That means you're more likely to relax.

In Liver qi stagnation, for example, your body isn't finding it easy to relax so you need all the help you can get. And some of the points are on your back, so that's another reason!

In other syndromes like those with severe anxiety, restlessness, worry, let alone irritability, don't do your own acupuncture for depression treatment. You'll never work out what's best for you! What's worse, you'll worry you got it wrong, which certainly won't be conducive to your better health. 

Depression in Chinese Medicine tends to include both excess and deficiencyheat and stagnationSo-called 'Acupuncture for depression points' don't treat the depression but the syndrome. If the syndrome improves, then the expectation is that the depression will improve.

This is a methodical system, not a miracle cure. It's been used for centuries because understanding the psyche is an important part of Chinese medical practice.

Lastly ... I might use none of the above points, but others that are also very effective but often not considered. Every classically trained acupuncturist has a huge array of acupuncture points from which to choose. They add subtlety and elegance to his treatments and they make it more interesting and enjoyable.


Find an Acupuncturist!

If you live in the Edinburgh area of Scotland, where the author of this site (and of the books described below) works, click on Edinburgh Acupuncturist.

If you live elsewhere, click on BAcC.


For a refreshing look at a completely different way of thinking,
click here for Alternative Health - Mind-power!


From Acupuncture for Depression Points to Acupuncture Medicine, click here.


Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott Books

Please note! The Kindle editions are less easy to read! Although the paper editions cost more, they are much easier to read and to refer back and forth to the contents and index. But ... there is no paper edition of Yang Deficiency as yet.

Here are some of the books Jonathan has written:

Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress

Yin Deficiency - Burnout and Exhaustion

Yang Deficiency - Get Your Fire Burning Again!

Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine


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