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Acupuncture and TCM for the treatment of Insomnia & Depression

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Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have a long history of treating depression and insomnia.

Treating Depression and Insomnia

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders. It can have many complicated influencing factors, such as loss of interest and sleep disorders including insomnia. Approximately 70% of patients with depression have symptoms of insomnia. In fact, insomnia is one of the diagnostic criteria for depression. One of the manifestations of severe depression is waking up two hours, or more, earlier than normal.

Insomnia is commonly defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Traditional Chinese Medicine will frequently look at what time you are waking up, and associate it to a specific organ system. Depending on what organ system is affected will determine what acupuncture points will be used to address the insomnia. An acupuncturist will address the whole body, and will work towards creating a balanced system. Patients that commonly come in for insomnia or depression frequently see changes in other symptoms too.

Generally, the first line of defense for depression are antidepressant medications called: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAS), and monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MOIs). However, these medications can come with a number of undesirable side effects such as weight gain, sedation, dry mouth, nausea, blurred vision, constipation, and tachycardia.

Studies Reaffirm Acupuncture Therapy for Insomnia and Depression

A meta-analysis published in 2017 (1) looked at more than18 studies. Eleven of the studies were randomized-controlled clinical trials (RCTs) compared with Western medicine; five were RCTs of acupuncture combined with medication compared with medication alone; and two were studies of acupuncture compared with sham or placebo acupuncture control. The authors of the meta-analysis conclude that acupuncture is a promising alternative to medication for treating depression-related insomnia.

Unlike Western medication, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are relatively low risk. By looking at the whole body, acupuncture not only addresses insomnia and depression, but also a wide variety of other symptoms.

Why lose any more sleep? Make your acupuncture treatment for insomnia and depression today!


(1) The Efficacy of Acupuncture for Treating Depression-Related Insomnia Compared with a Control Group: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Biomed Res Int. 2017; 2017: 9614810. Published online 2017 Feb 14. doi: 10.1155/2017/9614810

About the author

Teri Calandra

Teri Calandra Dipl.Acu, MSTOM, L.Ac., LMT, RMT

Teri began her studies in energy medicine as part of her own personal development journey, and continues to to learn and integrate that knowledge into her practice. Teri is the founding practitioner of Calandra Center for Health & Wellness in Schaumburg, Illinois. She is licensed by the State of Illinois in acupuncture (L.Ac.), and board certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

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