Depression Symptoms Relieved with Acupuncture

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by Diana Khoury

Acupuncture has been identified as safe and effective treatment for depression. The practice of acupuncture views depression and its accompanying symptoms of pain and anxiety as an imbalance in one’s qi (life force energy). Physiologically, the insertion of acupuncture needles triggers the release of pain-fighting neurotransmitters and endorphins in the body1. Acupuncture works to treat depression by opening up the flow of qi and tapping into the body’s natural ability to heal itself. The result is an increase in physical, mental and emotional well-being.

A research study comparing the efficacy of acupuncture vs. conventional medication found that both methods produced a similar reduction in depression symptoms. However, acupuncture proved to be additionally effective at reducing the anxiety and pain level of subjects2.
acup depression

Results from a study in China confirmed that acupuncture used to treat acute depression had less side effects than prescription medication, plus stimulated a positive change in biochemical measures of neurotransmitters in the body2. Their research demonstrated that acupuncture has a therapeutic effect on anxiety and cognitive function in individuals, as well as relieving pain and mitigating depression symptoms.

The Stanford University School of Medicine conducted research on the effects of acupuncture on pregnant women with depression. Subjects were divided into three groups: those receiving specific acupuncture, those receiving non-specific acupuncture, and those receiving massage. Out of all three groups, the participants receiving specific acupuncture showed the highest improvement rate on a depression measurement scale after 8 weeks, as well as the highest rate of symptom reduction3. Perhaps the most promising aspect of this study is the potential for acupuncture to be used as non-drug intervention for pregnant women experiencing depression.

Acupuncture alone as a treatment for depression is easily tolerated due its lack of side effects. Studies show that pharmaceuticals may be ineffective in up to 60% of depression cases4, but when combined with acupuncture, the effectiveness of treatment climbs significantly, and benefits may continue for up to six months. Conventional depression medication plus acupuncture together offer depressed patients the potential for increased symptomatic and functional improvement5, as well as considerable reduction in pain and anxiety.

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.

References:
1. http://www.afcinstitute.com/aboutacupuncture/howacupunctureworks/tabid/74/default.aspx
2. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/depression/role-acupuncture-treatment-depression
3. http://healthland.time.com/2010/02/22/acupuncture-for-prenatal-depression-menstrual-cramps/
4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2431242/How-acupuncture-ease-depression-Treatment-alongside-medication-improve-illness-drugs-alone.html
5. http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/462850

Image: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/437187/Acupuncture-eases-symptoms-of-severe-depression

Other Resources:
1. http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5789/rr/665478
2. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/10/02/need-help-for-depression-try-acupuncture-instead-of-counseling/

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