Depression encompasses such a broad emotional range that varies from feeling a bit ‘low’ from time to time, to such a dominant ‘emptiness’ that it severely interferes with our ability to go on with our everyday life.
In Chinese medicine (CM), harmful emotions are split into five different groups, with each one attributed to a specific CM organ. For example, anger belongs to the Liver while fear is connected to the Kidneys. In addition to dominating organs (that will have to be treated accordingly), every emotion causes a different flow of Qi (Energy). While anger will cause the Qi to stagnate (just think of a boiling pressure cooker that is just waiting to explode), fear on the other side is draining, evaporating the Qi (when someone literally wees their pants from fear, CM attributes it to Qi vanishing so fast that you don’t have enough energy left to control your bladder).
Depression/Sadness in CM is closely associated to the Lungs (sometimes, even taking a deep breath feels exhausting) and the emotion is usually connected to a Qi deficiency, it’s ‘empty’. Of course, this is a very purist summary, in reality, most patterns are mixed. So, for example, there might be an underlying irritability, which means that the Liver is involved as well, or a lack of joy, which points towards the Heart.
Emotional Qi imbalances react quite nicely to acupuncture, though a supporting herbal formula can be invaluable.