Acupuncture & Mental Health

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs have been successfully treating mental health care concerns for thousands of years. We all experience some degree of difficulty in our lifetimes, but it can be debilitating when it is chronic and interferes with our daily lives. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture for its effectiveness in successfully treating depression and other mental health concerns through clinical research trials.

Acupuncture works by looking at the body, mind, and spirit in a holistic and interconnected way. Acupuncture unblocks stagnant energy or qi (life force energy) and can successfully help to ease anxiety and depression in the mind/body. It also works synergistically with western medications and or other conjunctive therapies.

Acupuncture can successfully help with the following:

· Anxiety
· Depression
· Bipolar Disorder
· Repetitious thought patterns
· Lack of motivation or energy
· Racing thoughts
· Fears & phobias
· Hopelessness
· Nervousness
· Stress
· Prevention of panic attacks

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Current Research on Acupuncture & 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 is promising, particularly because women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression. 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.”

New research concludes that acupuncture is an effective monotherapy for major depressive disorder. Researchers from the Depression Clinical Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) cited prior research as the basis for this investigation. The researchers note, “We have previously shown that a standardized acupuncture augmentation was effective for antidepressant partial responders with major depressive disorder (MDD).” In a follow-up investigation, the researchers examined the safety and efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of depression as a standalone therapy.

Prior research at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) demonstrated that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of clinical depression for patients who are non-responsive to conventional pharmaceutical antidepressant therapies. The study researched the ability of acupuncture to augment conventional antidepressant therapy and concluded that acupuncture is an effective adjunct to antidepressants for both partial and non-responders.

Current Research on Acupuncture & Anxiety

The authors assessed the response to acupuncture of 18 anxious adult subjects who complained of insomnia in an open prepost clinical trial study. After five weeks acupuncture treatment they found a significant nocturnal increase in endogenous melatonin secretion and significant improvements in polysomnographic measures of sleep onset latency, arousal index, total sleep time and sleep efficiency. They also found significant reductions in state and trait Anxiety scores. These objective findings are consistent with clinical reports of acupuncture’s relaxant effects. Acupuncture treatment may be of value for some categories of anxious patients with insomnia.

Spence DW, et al. Acupuncture increases nocturnal melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and Anxiety: a preliminary report. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 16(1):19-28.

Albert S. Yeunga, Victoria E. Amerala, Sarah E. Chuzia, Maurizio Favaa and David Mischoulon. A pilot study of acupuncture augmentation therapy in antidepressant partial and non-responders with major depressive disorder. Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

A pilot study of acupuncture monotherapy in patients with major depressive disorder

David Mischoulon, Charlotte D. Brill, Victoria E. Ameral, Maurizio Fava, Albert S. Yeung. Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. 21 April 2012.

Zhang WJ, Yang XB, Zhong BL. “Combination of acupuncture and fluoxetine for depression: randomized double-blind, sham controlled trial.” J Altern Complement Med. 2009 15(8):837-44.

Mukaino, Y., Park, J., White, A., Ernst, E. The Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Depression – A Systematic Review of  Randomised Trials Acu.