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Traditional Acupuncture For Depression

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

A major new piece of research has been published entitled 'Acupuncture &

Counselling for Depression in Primary Care - A Randomised Controlled Trial'. The study was carried out by research scientists at York University, and this is the first major study to look at evaluating in such a thorough way, the clinical impact of acupuncture and counselling for patients with ongoing depression. The York Research The researchers at York University were prompted to carry out this study because until now it has been unclear to what extent acupuncture or counselling is effective in treating depression. The research method used consisted of a randomised controlled trial which selected 755 patients with depression, who was currently in the primary care system. They were chosen for the trial on the basis of the score they achieved in a questionnaire used by clinicians to diagnose and assess the severity of depression, called the Beck Depression Inventory. There were 3 groups, an acupuncture group, one for counselling and the third, that received their usual care. Whilst there were standardised protocols for the acupuncture and counselling sessions, ‘usual care’ was not standardised – being how the patient was treated in the system up to the start of the trial – for instance, 68.7% of the patients were on antidepressant medication. The outcome was assessed using another scoring questionnaire called the Patient Health Questionnaire - PHQ-9 and was carried out after 3 months and a follow up at 12 months. Compared to the usual care, acupuncture treatment resulted in a significant reduction in the PHQ-9 scores. The conclusion reached by the study was that acupuncture versus the usual care was associated with a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression. Depression from the perspective of the person as a whole. Source: British Acupuncture Council

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