A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical studies looking at acupuncture and depression, has concluded that it is a safe and effective treatment for some forms of the condition.
A total of 207 studies were examined, and 20 were deemed to be of sufficient quality to be subject to meta-analysis. The results showed that for major depressive disorders, acupuncture on its own is as effective as anti-depressant medication in improving symptom severity. For post-stroke depression, acupuncture was also found to be superior to anti-depressants, in improving response and symptom severity. Notably, the incidence of adverse events in acupuncture treatment, was significantly lower than with anti-depressants.
(The Effectiveness and Safety of Acupuncture Therapy in Depressive Disorders: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2009.)