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Acupuncture and Depression

Acupuncture and Depression

      A recent meta analysis was release in January of 2015 comparing the combination of antidepressants and acupuncture to just antidepressant medication alone. There was a combined total of 1046 patients. After 6 weeks the group that had the combination of medication plus acupuncture showed a significant improvement over the just medication alone group. This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that acupuncture combined with antidepressant medication is effective, has an early onset of action, is safe and well-tolerated over the first 6-week treatment period. Moreover, this treatment combination appears to result in greater therapeutic efficacy than SSRI therapy alone. The combination group also reported less adverse side effects from the medications. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce medication induced nausea, weight gain and sexual disorders related to antidepressant use. 

The researchers note that acupuncture may be effective without medication in treating depression for partial responders and nonresponders to antidepressant medications. Citing Wu et al., they note “that acupuncture has the potential to be an effective, safe and well-tolerated monotherapy for depression and a viable augmentation agent for partial responders and nonresponders to antidepressant treatment.” 

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Research on Acupuncture's Effectiveness on treating Depression:

National Institutes for Health (NIH) have established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine which funds research studies in the holistic treatments. The results are hopeful. In 1998, Dr. John Allen and other researchers at the University of Arizona used acupuncture to treat a sample of women with depression. After a total of 12 sessions, 70% of the women experienced at least a 50% reduction of symptoms. This research marked the first U.S. randomized, controlled, double-blind study of acupuncture's effectiveness in treating depression. The NIH funded study concludes, "Acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in a good way."

Acupuncture & Depression- All subjects receiving acupuncture for major depression significantly improved by a greater margin than those not receiving treatment. Another study suggests that electro-acupuncture can produce the same therapeutic results as tetra cyclic drugs but with fewer side effects and better symptomatic improvement. Acupuncture Treatment for Major Depression, the tenth annual symposium of the Society for Acupuncture Research, 2003. J. Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2004.

At Whole Body Healing we use Acupuncture and Oriental medicine along with Classic Chinese herbal formulas to naturally enhance your bodies overall well-being.




Elizabeth Girard, DACM, L.Ac.
Tim Kroll, MS, L.Ac.

243 King St.
Suite 247

Northampton, MA. 01060
(Located within Potpourri Plaza)

Whole Body Healing is Western Massachusetts leading Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Clinic serving Northampton, Springfield and the Pioneer Valley.