acupuncture is perfect for burnout

No, I’m not kidding.

As an acupuncturist and a burnout coach, you might think I’m a little biased. And you’d be right, but here’s what you should know about using acupuncture as part of your burnout recovery plan:

You’ll recover faster if you do it.

To recover from burnout, you need a few things in place.

  1. The time and safety for your nervous system to reset
  2. Focused treatments that help your brain to regrow (yes, your brain shrinks, especially the frontal cortex, when you’re on the far end of chronic stress)
  3. Superfoods, adaptogens, and a decent diet to get your gut microbiome in check
  4. Perspective and mindset work

Acupuncture helps you with the first three, which in turn makes the fourth easier. Acupuncture has been shown to have an effect on the vagus nerve which is linked to all of our rest and reset behaviors). The activation of the vagus nerve is what allows the nervous system to reset, to shut off its ALARM BELLS and to get back to regular everyday functioning. This is done with a simple application of a point or two in the ear. In my office, you leave with swarovski crystal ear seeds that will stimulate these points for a week at a time. This is MASSIVELY important.

Scalp acupuncture, in particular, has been used in hospitals in China for depression and anxiety that accompany chronic disease and stress. The proposed mechanism behind this is: “overlapping modulatory effects on the cortical structures (orbitofrontal cortex [OFC]) and medial prefrontal cortex [mPFC]) and subcortical/limbic regions (amygdala and hippocampus), and biochemical effect of acupuncture through immunohistochemistry (norepinephrine, serotonin) performed directly to the brain tissue for anxiety disorders.” In regular people words, it helps to reregulate the functioning of the brain.

This magical medicine has also been shown to regulate the gut microbiome, for now in rats, but after what I’ve seen in my office over the past decade plus, I’m sure this is happening in humans too! By helping to regulate what’s happening in your gut, we help you to get the most nutrition possible out of your food, improve your immune functioning, and create more energy for you to function – which is, as we all know, CRUCIAL when it comes to burnout.

Do you have questions about acupuncture and burnout? Ask them in the comments and I’ll be sure to come on and answer!


  • Caitlin Donovan

    Burnout Expert

    Caitlin Donovan is one of New York City’s leading burnout experts, host of “Fried – The Burnout Podcast,” and author of the book The Bouncebackability Factor. Her master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine enables Caitlin to combine Eastern wisdom with her natural practicality. After treating more than 25,000 patients, Caitlin added 1:1 coaching, corporate workshops, and keynotes for companies such as PTC and Lululemon – all with a focus on burnout. She has been featured on podcasts and online magazines such as “Elephant Journal,” “Thrive Global,” “Addicted 2 Success,” and “Your Story. Your Health.” as well as quoted in Oprah Magazine. Caitlin and her husband spent 12 years living in Europe, but now make their home in New Jersey. When Caitlin is not speaking or coaching on burnout, you can find her with her husband and their white fluffy dog hiking around NJ and NY.