Acupuncture, Depression, & False Claims Demystified

I’ll never forget that day in class, during my 3rd year of acupuncture school, when my teacher declared that acupuncture could not treat depression. I was astounded that this well-established acupuncturist and adored teacher would make such an erroneous statement about Chinese Medicine. As my hand shot up, outraged by this blatantly false statement, I thought of how I had experienced complete relief from moderate depression thanks to just a few months of acupuncture and herbal therapy. And, how the well-known classical text, The Nei Jing, states that Chinese Medicine can “treat any disease known to man.” And now, there is even further evidence to expose the fallacy of my teacher’s claims.

Researcher Hugh MacPherson, from the University of York in the United Kingdom, has just completed a large randomized controlled trial comparing the benefits of acupuncture, counseling, and usual care only for depressed patients over a 12 week period. Before the initial treatments began, the level of depression was measured using a scale of 0-27, with higher scores indicating more severe depression. The average score was 16, indicating moderate depression. After the 12-week period, depression levels were reevaluated. The acupuncture group scores lowered to an average of 9, which indicates mild depression. Counseling group scores lowered to an 11, and the usual care group fell to an average of 13, indicating moderate depression. The results clearly show that acupuncture not only helps depression, but performs better than both counseling and usual care methods.

How might you ask, does acupuncture work for depression? The answer is quite simple, really. Depression is considered in Chinese Medicine to be caused by either a Sinking of Qi in the body, Constraint of Qi, or a Deficiency of Qi, Blood, or Yin. The well-educated practitioner will differentiate the cause of depression based upon pulse and tongue diagnosis, and your answer to many questions regarding both your health history and the current health of all your body systems. The organ systems and their corresponding meridians, most affected by your underlying pathology, are then treated with whisker-thin needles inserted at specific acupuncture points. It may take a few months of acupuncture treatment, lifestyle modifications, and Chinese Herbal therapy to correct the Qi dynamic, but your body will ultimately heal itself. And best of all, without the use of side-effect ridden medications.

What are you waiting for? Contact your acupuncturist today!

2. “Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine” Wu, Yan. p.234-240.

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