Acupuncture and Depression
While some people may use acupuncture for the treatment of depression, it is not clear at this point how effective a treatment option this is. Few studies have looked at depression and acupuncture together; those that have been performed have had mixed results. Acupuncture could be useful as a complementary treatment for depression; however, it should never be used in place of conventional treatment.
Acupuncture: A Treatment for Depression?Depression is one of the most common illnesses in today's society -- affecting up to 10 percent of the adult population each year. Although effective depression treatment is available, increasing numbers of people are interested in complementary and alternative treatments.
Complementary and alternative treatments are a group of diverse medical and healthcare practices and products that are not presently considered an integral part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.
Conventional healthcare providers most often recommend antidepressants and psychotherapy for the treatment of depression. In more severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be recommended. Complementary and alternative treatment options for depression include:
- Herbs (see Natural Remedies for Depression)
- Vitamins and other dietary supplements
Another treatment option for depression is acupuncture.
What Is Acupuncture?Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, the term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques.
American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.