Acupuncture as good as counseling for depression: study
Acupuncture practitioners claim the technique relieves pain by modifying energy flow through the body. “Acupuncturists talk about concepts coming from outside traditional biomedicine,” Vickers explains. “Doctors will say, ‘I didn’t learn about energy flow in Physiology 101.'” Health.com: Natural remedies for arthritis The energy-flow theory has met with a great deal of skepticism in the United States and other Western nations, and researchers have failed to identify other, biological underpinnings for the treatment. Dozens of clinical trials have sought to prove that acupuncture is more than a placebo by comparing the real thing with sham treatments, which in addition to misplaced needles can include electrical or laser stimulation designed to mimic pinpricks. The new study bolsters the evidence for acupuncture but doesn’t quite put to rest the idea that patients are largely responding to the placebo effect, says Dr. Andrew L. Avins, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco and a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente, a large nonprofit health plan based in Oakland, California. Although genuine acupuncture clearly benefited the study participants, Avins says, the fact that the effectiveness rate was much higher than treatment as usual but only slightly higher than the sham treatment suggests that most of the benefit associated with acupuncture is indeed attributable to the placebo effect. Health.com: Get headaches? Smart ways to deal What’s more, he adds, the modest difference between genuine and sham acupuncture may not be meaningful for the average real-world patient. “Acupuncture does appear to have some very small benefit above and beyond placebo acupuncture or sham acupuncture,” says Avins, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. “But the effects really are pretty small, and the majority of the effect is a placebo effect.” Acupuncture skeptics will likely seize on this point, Avins says, but the study findings don’t mean that acupuncture doesn’t work, or that doctors shouldn’t refer pain patients for the treatment.
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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. “What this says is if you don’t get completely better, there are other options,” Dr. Philip Muskin, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, told Reuters Health.
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Patient perspectives on care received at community acupuncture clinics: a qualitative thematic analysis
Sign up Patient perspectives on care received at community acupuncture clinics: a qualitative thematic analysis Kimberly M Tippens, Maria T Chao, Erin Connelly and Adrianna Locke For all author emails, please log on . that aims to improve access to care through low-cost treatments in group-based settings. Patients at community acupuncture clinics represent a broader socioeconomic spectrum and receive more frequent treatments compared to acupuncture users nationwide. As a relatively new model of acupuncture in the U.S., little is known about the experiences of patients at community acupuncture clinics and whether quality of care is compromised through this high-volume model. The aim of this study was to assess patients’ perspectives on the care received through community acupuncture clinics. Methods The investigators conducted qualitative, thematic analysis of written comments from an observational, cross-sectional survey of clients of the Working Class Acupuncture clinics in Portland, Oregon. The survey included an open-ended question for respondents to share comments about their experiences with community acupuncture. Comments were received from 265 community acupuncture patients. Results Qualitative analysis of written comments identified two primary themes that elucidate patients’ perspectives on quality of care: 1) aspects of health care delivery unique to community acupuncture, and 2) patient engagement in health care. Patients identified unique aspects of community acupuncture, including structures that facilitate access, processes that make treatments more comfortable and effective and holistic outcomes including physical improvements, enhanced quality of life, and empowerment. The group setting, community-based locations, and low cost were highlighted as aspects of this model that allow patients to access acupuncture. Conclusions Patients’ perspectives on the values and experiences unique to community acupuncture offer insights on the quality of care received in these settings.
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