Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others. Schizophrenia usually occurs between ages 16 and 30. Men often get it earlier than women.

Patients with schizophrenia may have a number of symptoms including changes in ability, thinking, perception, behavior, and personality. They may display different kinds of behaviors at different times. When the disorder first appears, symptoms usually are sudden and severe.

Genetics and environmental triggers are considered the main causes of the disease. Three such environmental triggers are: contracting viral infections before birth, receiving improper nutrition from the patients’ mothers when their mothers were pregnant, and taking mind-altered drugs or marijuana.

Schizophrenia treatment includes psychiatric medications and therapy to reduce the risk of future psychotic episodes and to improve relationships.

What have scientists said about the effectiveness of acupuncture and herbal treatment on patients with schizophrenia?

Let’s have a look at the most recent case study. A sixty three year-old patient suffered from persistent hallucinations. The patient received 12 weekly acupuncture sessions. There was a decrease in symptoms that occurred 3 months after the acupuncture treatments. This case study indicated that acupuncture was beneficial as an auxiliary treatment tool for patients with schizophrenia.

One study documented a group of patients treated with acupuncture twice a week for a total of 10 weeks. The results demonstrated that acupuncture was effective in alleviating schizophrenia symptoms and the side effects of psychiatric medications. Acupuncture also improved energy levels, sleep, physical disorders and motivation.

Another study published in The Journal of Brain Disease reported that the herbal formula “Yi Gan San” may be helpful in treating schizophrenia and neuropsychological disorders.

In a review published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry in 2014, the researchers concluded that “Yi Gan San” was a serotonin modulator and was a safe and useful formula for treating behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and borderline personality disorder. The study also showed significant improvements in “tardive dyskinesia”, psychosis and schizophrenia.



  1. Bosch P et al. A case study on acupuncture in the treatment of schizophrenia. Acupunct Med. 2014 Jun;32(3):286-9.
  2. Shi GX, Liu CZ, Li QQ, Zhu H, Wang LP. Acupuncture and Moxibustion Department, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine affiliated to Capital Medical University, Beijing, China. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2012, 32(2):199-202.
  3. Okamoto H et al. Yokukan-san: a review of the evidence for use of this Kampo herbal formula in dementia and psychiatric conditions. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014 Sep 12;10:1727-42.
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