Acupuncture for Bipolar Disorder

Acupuncture for Bipolar Disorder

Considering an Alternative Approach

According to Chinese medicine, there are real reasons to use acupuncture for treatment of those who have bipolar disorder. The manic phase is characterized by stagnation of Qi, phlegm that clouds the mind, fire that harasses the mind and causes mania, blood stasis that obstructs the mind, and yin deficiency. The main organs involved are the liver, heart and spleen.

Bipolar disorder is sometimes called Dian Kuang by the Chinese, where Dian is the depression part of the cycle and Kuang is the agitation part. However, the term does not exactly translate to the Western idea of bipolar disorder.

One of the most interesting medical articles on the treatment of bipolar disorder with acupuncture is from a book called The Psyche in Chinese Medicine in Chapter 19 called, ”Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression) (Dullness and Mania Dian Kuang)”. You can read this yourself at this url:

The Chinese believe that the mind has to be cleaned of phlegm and then opened up in order to make a difference in bipolar disorder. In the chapter mentioned above, you’ll learn that there are specific acupuncture points that open up the mind.

Some of the Acupuncture Points Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder

Here are some of them:

  1. Lung 3. This acupuncture point is good for those with bipolar disorder who are forgetful, sad, have insomnia, cry, and talk to ghosts.
  2. Large Intestine 5 and Large Intestine 7. This acupuncture point provides treatment for manic behavior, fright, inappropriate laughter and seeing ghosts.
  3. Stomach 25. This acupuncture point is for mania, schizophrenia, anxiety, and mental irritability.
  4. Gall Bladder 13. This acupuncture point is for fright and manic behavior.
  5. Gall Bladder 17. This acupuncture point is for manic behavior, obsessive thoughts, and pensiveness.
  6. DU 16. This acupuncture point helps treat suicidal thoughts, sadness and fear.
  7. DU 20. This point is used in the treatment of those who want to commit suicide, sadness and crying.

Interestingly, the treatment of bipolar disorder includes the treatment of points that are often used for ‘ghosts’. There are actually 13 different points in the body that may be treated in a person that sees ghosts, which is considered to be related to mental illnesses. The Chinese think that those with bipolar disorder believe they have had an invasion of ghosts.


Studies Prove Acupuncture Works

Researchers at Purdue University reported in 2009 that acupuncture when used for either the manic phase or the depression phase is a safe, effective and acceptable treatment for bipolar disorder. They commented that the treatment targeted mood elevation or depression, that there were few negative side effects and no one dropped out of the study.

If you are suffering from bipolar disorder, see a qualified licensed practitioner of acupuncture; don’t try it on your own. There’s a lot of knowledge and experience that goes into the training of an acupuncturist.


Dennehy, E.B., et al. The safety, acceptability, and effectiveness of acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment for acute symptoms in bipolar disorder. J Clin Psychiatry 2009 un; 70 (6); 897-905.

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