The answer is a resounding YES! A new study by researchers at the University of Arizona confirmed that acupuncture is a promising treatment for depression. Depression is extremely common in the US and is among the 10 most frequently reported conditions. About half the people who seek treatment for depression are not helped by psychotherapy and medication, or withdraw from treatment too early. Of those who recover, more than one third relapse within 18 months.
In the University of Arizona study participants were treated with acupuncture twice a week for 4 weeks, then once a week for 4 more weeks for a total of 12 sessions. After completion of acupuncture, 70% of the people had at least a 50% reduction in their symptoms. Plus acupuncture has none of the side effects or other concerns of antidepressant medications.
Acupuncture seeks to address body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The goal is to create harmony within ourselves, and between ourselves and the world. It is understood that “intellect” and “feeling” reside in all cells of the body. If a person is depressed, Chinese medicine understands this as the result of deficient or stagnant energy, or as an imbalance of yin and yang ( the two polar opposite forces of which all things are comprised ). This imbalance can take many forms, and is ultimately discerned by the acupuncturist through an ongoing evaluation process of observation of posture, gait, mood, skin tone, brightness of the eyes ( referred to as the “shen”), voice, smell, tongue and pulse diagnosis, and other signs and symptoms.
The acupuncturist arrives at a differential diagnosis and chooses acupuncture points which help to address imbalances and bring harmony to our “internal landscape”, much like a gardener nourishes the soil and removes weeds. In western medical thinking this is akin to adjusting serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain and throughout the body. The result is an enhanced feeling of well-being and calm, clearer thinking, more energy, and a better sense of engagement with oneself and the world. So, in summary, acupuncture helps elevate your mood, increases vitality, improves sleep, reduces anxiety, and all with no side effects. sounds like a no-brainer!!