The most common form of treatments for depression typically revolves around the prescription of pharmaceutical drugs. Yet as recent studies show that some side-effects of those medications can lead to harmful, counterintuitive reactions, more Americans are seeking out Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The World Health Organization also acknowledges that acupuncture is a safer alternative to pharmaceutical medication with no side effects. Most importantly, it’s proven to have good results. This led to a new study conducted by a group of researchers at the Ghanzghou University of Chinese Medicine, China. Their paper, published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, explores how acupuncture can have a positive effect on the quality of life in depression patients.
The team enlisted 163 adult participants for the study, all of whom received regular acupuncture treatment for depression at Guangdong Provincial Hospital between January and December 2010. Patients were split into three groups, each receiving variant styles of needling, as well as moxibustion, twice a week over the course of twelve weeks.
After each session, participants were asked to score their quality of life in the following areas: physical function, physical role, bodily pain, general physical condition, energy, social function, emotional function and mental health. Despite the three groups receiving slightly different modes of acupuncture, with needles embedded at different depths and angles, all of them noticed a significant improvement in their overall wellbeing.
More studies seeking to prove a positive outcome from the use of acupuncture in depression are needed. The medical community potentially has a viable alternative to harsh antidepressants, which have been linked to some fatal outcomes; certain antidepressants have been shown to double the risk of suicide in people under the age of 18.
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