Acupuncture May Relieve Depression, But Only Temporarily

Depression symptoms may be treated with acupuncture, counseling

As effective as antidepressant medications are, in some studies up to 60% of patients dont report adequate relief of their mood symptoms, and another 30% stop taking their drugs as prescribed. So researchers from the University of York in the UK compared the effects of adding either acupunctureor counseling to usual primary care monitoring for depression that included treatment with antidepressants. Among more than 750 patients who had discussed depressive symptoms with their primary care physicians in the past five years, one group were provided with 12 weeklyacupuncturesessions on top of their usual care, while another group received12 weeklysessionsof counseling combined with their usual care, and the remainder continued with their existing care. (MORE: Acupuncture May Offer Real Relief for Chronic Pain ) During the first three months of the study, both the acupunctureand counseling groups showed a greater reduction in depression symptoms compared to the patients onlyreceiving usual care. However, as the study went on, there were no noticeable differences between the three forms of care at nine and 12 months. That suggests that antidepressant treatments may take time to balance mood, and that acupuncture and counseling may need to continue for extended periods of time to counter depressive symptoms. So for the short term, as the medications start to rebalance mood, adding the non-drug therapies may help patients feel better sooner than they would on the drugs alone. The study is published in the journalPLOS Medicine.
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Five Fascinating Acupuncture Facts

Researchers at the University of York, found that the combination of acupuncture or counseling with usual care benefited patients who had been suffering form recurrent depression after three months of treatment. Scientists who learned about the study have complained that there is not enough evidence to liken the two non-drug therapies to improvements. Lead author Dr Hugh MacPherson said in a statement: “Although these findings are encouraging, our study does not identify which aspects of acupuncture and counseling are likely to be most beneficial to patients, nor does it provide information about the effectiveness of acupuncture or counseling, compared with usual care, for patients with mild depression.” During the trial, patients with depression were randomly assigned to receive either 12 weekly sessions of acupuncture plus usual care (302 patients), or 12 weekly sessions of counseling plus usual care (302 patients), or usual care alone (151 patients). Results showed that groups that received acupuncture and counseling showed a significant reduction in average depression scores at three months, compared to the group that received usual care alone. There was no significant difference in the scores between the group that received acupuncture, and the group that received counseling. While testing at 9 and 12 months there was no longer a difference between the scores in either of the three groups. “To our knowledge, our study is the first to rigorously evaluate the clinical and economic impact of acupuncture and counseling for patients in primary care who are representative of those who continue to experience depression in primary care,” MacPherson said. “We have provided evidence that acupuncture versus usual care and counseling 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. ” The study was published this week in PLOS Medicine. Recommended Stories
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For their study, he and his colleagues recruited 755 people with moderate or severe depression. The researchers split participants into three groups: 302 were randomly assigned to receive 12 weekly acupuncture sessions, another 302 received weekly counseling sessions and 151 received usual care only. About 70 percent of people had taken antidepressants in the three months before the study and about half reported taking pain medications. People did not have to stop taking their medicine to participate in the study. At the outset, participants had an average depression score of 16 on a scale from 0 to 27, with higher scores symbolizing more severe depression. A 16 is considered moderately severe depression. After three months, people assigned to the acupuncture group had an average score of about 9 – on the higher end of the mild depression category. Scores fell to 11 among members of the counseling group and about 13 in the usual care group, both considered moderate depression. Participants who received acupuncture or counseling saw larger improvements over three months than those who had neither treatment. Those benefits remained for an additional three months after the treatments stopped. However, any differences between acupuncture and counseling could have been due to chance, the researchers reported Tuesday in PLOS Medicine. They found doctors would need to treat seven people using acupuncture and 10 people with counseling for one person to no longer be depressed.
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Acupuncture as good as counseling for depression: study

This is one of the great mysteries of medicine and probably of life. Oh, you want examples? Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice. I’ve tried it. Friends have tried it. Many have had good results. But we don’t know why it works. I have also been trying qi gong lately, another ancient Chinese practice that involves moving energy around by standing with your arms extended in front of your body or waving them around like a lunatic. This, too, seems to have healing effects. Don’t know why. We’re fighting off flu and colds around here.
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Acupuncture: What Is it and Why Does it Work?

1. Acupuncture can help with addiction. Whether youre addicted to alcohol, food, drugs or cigarettes, a licensed acupuncturist can use points in your ear to help curb those cravings. 2. Acupuncture treats colds and flus. Acupuncture helps boost your bodys energy, or qi.When your qi is strong, youre able to fight off external pathogens, like colds and flus that invade the body. 3. Acupuncture is very popular in Europe. In Sweden, fertility patients are required to get acupuncture with IVF treatments, as acupuncture can increase blood flow to key reproductive areas. 4. Acupuncture comes at a lower cost to insurance companies than most doctor visits. Because there is no lab work involved with acupuncture, there are no added costs per visit. 5. In 2014, all Washington insurance companies are required to offer acupuncture benefits. If you have health insurance in the state of Washington, acupuncture visits will come at a reduced cost beginning next year. Acupuncture doesnt just deal with symptoms; it attempts to remove the root cause of the complaint.Because it considers emotions as a cause of disease and pain, your entire person is taken in to account when being treated with acupuncture.Eastern Medicine believes all body systems have a relationship and acupuncture is one way of addressing those relationships and pinpointing which systems are out of balance. If youd like to learn more about acupuncture and how it can treat your chronic pain or other ailments, visit The Washington Center for Pain Management or call (425)774-1538 to schedule an appointment.
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