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Acupuncture helps boost mood

Wednesday September 25th, 2013

Acupuncture can help relieve the misery of people with depression, British researchers say today.

It is among a range of therapies that may provide alternatives to drugs for some patients, researchers say.

A team led by Dr Hugh MacPherson of York University, UK, investigated the possibility of providing acupuncture and counselling in a primary care setting.

They carried out a trial in the North of England where 604 patients with depression were randomly allocated to 12 weekly sessions of acupuncture or counselling plus usual care. A further 151 patients has usual care only.

This showed a significant drop in average depression scores for both the acupuncture and counselling interventions, compared with usual care. Both these approaches reduced symptoms by a similar amount.
After both nine and 12 months the benefit disappeared, but this was due to a rise in the usual care group.

Full details appear in the journal PLOS Medicine today. Dr MacPherson pointed out that this study is the first to evaluate the clinical and economic impact of acupuncture and counselling for patients who are representative of those all over the country with persistent depression.

He said: "Although these findings are encouraging, our study does not identify which aspects of acupuncture and counselling are likely to be most beneficial to patients, nor does it provide information about the effectiveness of acupuncture or counselling, compared with usual care, for patients with mild depression."

But he added that the non-drug approaches had at least a short-term benefit, with no associated side-effects.

MacPherson, H. et al. Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial. PLOS Medicine 25 September 2013

Tags: Alternative Therapy | Mental Health | NHS | UK News

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