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Study Finds Acupuncture Benefits Quality of Life for Depression Sufferers

By: Vanessa Vogel Batt L.Ac. MSOM

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine may be the perfect way to help people feel good about themselves, so they can fully enjoy life and maintain harmonious relationships.

A study from the April 2016 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine provides evidence to back up this statement. The name of it is "Curative effects of acupuncture on quality of life in patients with depression: a clinical randomized single-blind placebo-controlled study."

Researchers placed 163 patients suffering from depression into three separate groups and gave them varying depths of treatment.

The first group underwent acupuncture treatments pertinent to their condition, which included a deep-needling technique that allowed patients to feel sensations from the needle. The second group also experienced the same acupuncture treatment but with one critical difference: their needling technique was shallow and avoided producing any sensations. The third group received sham acupuncture, meaning the acupuncture points chosen did not specifically treat their depressive condition.

All groups were on the same schedule and received two treatments a week for 12 weeks. Researchers evaluated the following eight items for each patient: physical function, physical role, body pain, general physical condition, energy levels, social function, emotional function, and mental health.

The study ended with some exciting results. First, all groups experienced major improvement in these items right after their acupuncture treatments. The patients in Group 1 saw more significant benefits when compared to the other two groups. At follow-up evaluations, which occurred one and three months after the trial concluded, results varied.

Group 1 patients continued to outperform the other groups and maintained their results. Groups 2 and 3 showed very similar outcomes, except in the area of social function. Group 2 demonstrated better results in this one item over Group 3.

Researchers concluded that acupuncture applied with a deep-needling technique produces statistically significant benefits when treating patients with depression. They theorized that the results obtained by Groups 2 and 3 might be due to the placebo effect.

Source: Ling, F., Wenbin, F., Zhao, C., et al. (2016). Curative effects of acupuncture on quality of life in patients with depression: a clinical randomized single-blind placebo-controlled study. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Vol. 36, issue 2, pages 151-159.

Depression and mental health issues are best managed when health professionals work together. Find a practitioner near you today!

About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.

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