Body & Sports

TCM treatment: How acupuncture can ease depression

Updated: 2013-10-08
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Acupuncture can help lift people out of depression, research suggests.
 
A British study found that people who had acupuncture alongside their anti-depressants improved more after three months than those who simply took drugs.
 
They also did as well as those who had counselling alongside their normal treatment.
 
acupuncture
York University researchers said the finding is important because many patients with depression are interested in alternatives to drugs
 
The York University researchers said the finding is important because many patients with depression are interested in alternatives to drugs - which don’t work in up to 60 per cent of cases.
 
Depression costs the English economy £9billion a year and although acupuncture is used to treat it, there has been little research into whether it helps.
 
More than 755 men and women with moderate to severe depression were studied.
 
acupuncture
Depression costs the English economy £9billion a year
 
One group had acupuncture alongside their normal treatment, including any drugs, a second had counselling added in, while a third group was treated as usual.
 
Acupuncture and counselling improved symptoms for up to six months.
 
After that, the health of those being treated normally had improved so much that acupuncture and counselling did not provide any extra benefit.
 
Researcher Dr Hugh MacPherson, who is trained in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, said: ‘We have provided evidence that acupuncture versus usual care and counselling versus usual care are both associated with a significant reduction in symptoms of depression in the short to medium term, and are not associated with serious adverse events.
 
Writing in the journal PLoS Medicine (MUST CREDIT), he added that it is still not clear if acupuncture will help people with mild depression.
 
It is thought acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins and other ‘feel- good’ molecules.
 
 
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