Acupuncture for perimenopausal depression

Being a middle aged woman myself, and experiencing the challenges of the perimenopause, I have plenty of sympathy for everyone going through this phase of our lives!

And I love that there’s a much more open discussion going on about how this powerful transition can affect us. Often the focus is on physical symptoms that we may experience, whether it’s hot flushes or an increased risk of urinary tract infections.

But, I have a particular interest in working with mental health and emotional wellbeing, and the impact on mood for some women at this time should not be underestimated too. Unfortunately, studies have shown that women in perimenopause are at higher risk of depression than premenopausal women.

So, how about acupuncture for perimenopausal depression? Can it help?

Research on acupuncture for perimenopausal depression

Well, I was really pleased to see that 2021 also saw the publication of a systematic review and metanalysis (a study of all the studies) into acupuncture for perimenopausal depression.

The study looked at the results of 25 randomised controlled trials, including 2,200 women.

“Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression in their lifetime as men … Menopausal transition, also called perimenopause, refers to a critical stage of dynamic hormonal flux that occurs at midlife in women … Perimenopause is defined as a “window” of vulnerability for the development of depression.”

“In comparison with standard care, acupuncture alone or combined with standard care was associated with significant improvements in PMD [perimenopausal depression] and reductions of other menopausal symptoms. This finding suggests that acupuncture may be a useful addition to treatment for PMD.”

Extracts from a 2021 systematic review and metanalysis of acupuncture for perimenopausal depression

I’ve written before about how the evidence base for acupuncture is unfortunately not being well integrated into health systems. Hopefully, over time, more and more women who are going through this part of their life and finding it difficult will get access to everything that can help them, including acupuncture.

Ready to try some acupuncture?

Just book online or get in touch. Jessica will be happy to help you.


Zhao F-Y, Fu Q-Q, Kennedy GA, Conduit R, Zhang W-J and Zheng Z (2021) Acupuncture as an Independent or Adjuvant Management to Standard Care for Perimenopausal Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychiatry 12:666988. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.666988

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Acupuncture for pain-related depression

If you’re feeling low, or stuck in a bit of a hole, you’re definitely not alone. Unfortunately depression is very common – more than 16% of us can expect to experience it at some point in our lives, making it the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide. And if you’re experiencing chronic pain, unfortunately your risk of depression may be as high as 50%.

Acupuncture for pain-related depression

Chronic pain is a horrible situation to be in, and it can really get you down. We probably all know someone with chronic back pain, who is also suffering with their mood.

I was happy to see though, that a 2021 study concluded, after analysing the results of eight randomised controlled trials, that acupuncture can be helpful for people who are suffering in this way:

“Depression and pain are the most common psychological and physical symptoms in primary care, respectively … Pain has a negative impact on the prognosis and treatment of depression and vice versa. There is a significant correlation between the severity of pain and the degree of depression.”

“… compared with drug treatment, single acupuncture treatment has the same effect in reducing pain and relieving symptoms of depression in patients with CPRD [chronic pain-related depression] … In addition, acupuncture combined with drug therapy has a better effect than a single drug.”

Extracts from a 2021 systematic review and metanalysis of acupuncture for acupuncture for chronic pain-related depression

The researchers also looked at whether any conclusions could be drawn about the safety of acupuncture in this context, and said:

“… single acupuncture treatment has a lower incidence of adverse events compared to oral drugs. Therefore, we can cautiously recommend that acupuncture is a safe treatment for CPRD [chronic pain-related depression].”

Although it’s worth noting, as is so common with acupuncture research, that the study also concluded that more research is needed:

“… due to the insufficient number of included studies, low methodological quality, and heterogeneity of results, further studies using large- and high-quality samples are needed to confirm the role of acupuncture for CPRD.”

Acupuncture for your pain-related depression

So if you’re suffering with pain-related depression and would like to try acupuncture, get in touch to get started.


Jianyu You, Haiyan Li, Dingyi Xie, Rixin Chen, Mingren Chen, “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain-Related Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”, Pain Research and Management, vol. 2021, Article ID 6617075, 10 pages, 2021.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay