In our second post for Mental Illness Awareness Week we will examine research which shows support for acupuncture in treating depression.
In an article published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research a Chinese research group found benefit for acupuncture in treating major depression. This particular study looked at manual acupuncture as well as electro-acupuncture, in a group of patients who received the commonly prescribed anti-depressant paroxetine.
The study included 160 patients diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. One treatment group received paroxetine only, while the other two groups received manual acupuncture or electro-acupuncture in addition to the paroxetine.
The patients in the acupuncture groups received three sessions of acupuncture per week over six consecutive weeks. Assessment of the patients in the manual and electro-acupuncture groups showed significant improvement in depression scores compared to paroxetine alone beginning at week one and continuing through week six of the study. In addition, in the group which received electro-acupuncture, the benefits continued four weeks after the electro-acupuncture treatments were stopped.
The results of this study are significant, especially in light of the beneficial effect of acupuncture when added on to a commonly used anti-depressant. The finding that acupuncture helps with depressive symptoms almost immediately is particularly important, as the beneficial effects of medications often take longer to materialize. Given the generally safe nature of acupuncture treatments, they may offer a supplemental treatment choice for depression.
(Source- Journal of Psychiatric Research 47, 2013 )
This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.