Acupuncture Helps Depression: Acupuncture Research

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Acupuncture Helps Depression: Acupuncture Research

A research study has found that boosting the effect of acupuncture needles with small electric currents may be effective in treating depression.
Certainly I find every day that even acupuncture on its own can be very helpful as well.

In a study at the School of Chinese Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, researchers used electrical acupuncture to stimulate spots on the heads of 73 patients, all who had suffered from depression in the 7 years prior to the study.

Results showing that Acupuncture helps depression

The patients who reported being significantly happier after the study had received acupuncture with electro-stimulation 3 times per week for 3 weeks, or 9 treatments total.  The other half of the group, the placebo group, had only superficial needle insertion into their heads.

Roger Ng, a researcher from the group, which published their findings in the journal PLoS (Public Library of Science) ONE, said, “The drop (in depression scores) among the group receiving active treatment was more significant than the placebo group,”.

“When the acupoints are stimulated, some brain centers responsible for producing serotonin are stimulated,” explained Ng. An imbalance in serotonin levels is believed to be linked to depression.  However, acupuncture alone, even without electrical stimulation, has been shown to increase seratonin and the release of endorphins, meaning that acupuncture helps depression alone as well. This is good news for some, because not everyone is an appropriate candidate for electro-acupuncture. For example patients who are extremely depleted are often not great candidates, nor are people with electrical issues of the heart.”

The scariest news about the report in the article I read was that the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will rival heart disease as the health disorder with the highest disease burden in the world.  Something is seriously wrong with that.

While I think it’s important that we look towards what the root of this is in society, in the meantime, I feel grateful that people don’t have to wait to find help with acupuncture, as it’s widely available now.

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Tags: acupuncture for depression