Acupuncture Not a Viable Treatment for Depression
> 12/27/2006 1:03:25 PM

From the common sense department comes a news story yesterday from Reuters detailing a recent medical study performed at The University of Arizona that found that acupuncture was not an adequate treatment for major depression. The study, which appeared in the November edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, examined the reactions to acupuncture of 151 men and women with major depression over several stages of testing. Participants received either acupuncture at spots chosen for depression treatment, spots not chosen for depression treatment or they received no acupuncture at all. After this initial stage, each participant received the depression treatment acupuncture.

Lead research Dr. John J. B. Allen and his team found that those who received the non-specific variety of acupuncture actually reported better outcomes then those who received acupuncture targeted at treating depression. The fact that both of these groups did better than the group that received no acupuncture suggests that even at its most basic level, acupuncture may provide at least a placebo effect for those suffering from major depression. What is clear, however, and was pointed out by Dr. Allen, is that acupuncture is not a sufficient treatment for depression, and should not be relied on to ease the suffering of those facing major depression.

Like a lot of alternative treatments, acupuncture may provide some relief on an individual level to depression sufferers. Of course, getting a dog could also relieve some of the symptoms of depression in some sufferers. What is important to point out is that there is no medical evidence that either of these "treatments" will have any benefit as a depression treatment. This isn't to say that acupuncture can't or won't ever help anyone, because it has in the past and probably will in the future. But if you or someone you know is dealing with depression, it is important that it not be the only treatment option that you are considering.

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