Acupuncture for Depression

6 years ago by Dr Ruolin Sun

Unfortunately depression is a common condition and a leading cause of disability in both sexes and all ages worldwide.

A major problem is that depression is often under-diagnosed and under-treated. Also, many patients don’t take the anti-depressants that have been prescribed for them. Conventional treatments for depression such as psychotherapy and mediation provide significant relief for approximately 50 – 70% of patients who complete treatment. Unfortunately, of those enrolling in treatment, about one-third terminate treatment prematurely, citing factors such as dissatisfaction with their current treatment or intolerable side effects. If all patients who do not complete treatment or who do not respond to treatment are taken into account, more than half of all depressed persons who enter treatment fail to recover. Even amongst those who recover from an episode of major depression, more than a third show clinical relapse within 18 months. Not surprisingly, patients with depression often welcome alternative treatment such as acupuncture.

Acupuncture treatment derives from the principle of Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine views health as a balance between the yin and yang forces, which depend on the proper circulation of the vital energy ‘qi’ along energetic pathways or meridians.

Acupuncture does this by acting on the circulation of ‘qi’, or life force, in the body to improve and maintain wellbeing. Acupuncture is drug free which, when used together with conventional medical care, can be of great advantage. It also treats fatigue and anxiety, which are symptoms commonly experienced by patients with depression. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Each treatment is tailored to the patient’s individual needs and a clinical trial has shown 64% of patients with depression experienced full remission after 8 weeks of acupuncture treatment.