Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Needles for depression?

A review has just been published which has looked at all the studies of acupuncture and "major depressive disorder." This is of interest to me as I am doped up to my eyeballs due to my major depressive disorder. I am not complaining about the medication as it works! However it has a number of side effects that I am not enjoying.

I figure better be alive and happy with side effects, than dead as worst, and at best a volatile and disruptive moods that effect all areas of my life. So I am very interested in complimentary interventions so that over time I can start to come off the med's.

What the study found that acupuncture was "was comparable to antidepressants" was "safe and effective in treating major depressive disorder." However the results were not statistically significant from sham acupuncture. Now sham acupuncture is were the needles are put in different places than the acupuncture points that are used to treat depression. The patient would not be told that they were on the "real" or "sham" list.

So what this review is saying is that acupuncture is as good as medications, but it doesn't matter where the needles go. Now would acupuncture work for me know I know that it doesn't matter where they go? And is there more going on - like the caring touch of another human....

If you are in NZ and would like to try this treatment, Vitalis Skiauteris might be a good place to start.

Ref: Chena et al The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture therapy in depressive disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis Journal of Affective Disorders

1 comment:

  1. Hi David,

    thanks for recommending me and for your comment on my blog.

    In 1998 a couple of German researchers from University of Heidelberg introduced a "placebo needle" and many trials use this or similar devices to trick patients into believing that they have the needles inserted when they don't.

    These same German guys did a study confirming that, from the patients perspective, sham needle felt exactly the same. The problem with this approach is that, even though the skin is not penetrated, acupuncture points still receive stimulation.

    The research from Harvard Medical School looked into the brain scans and how much endorphins the brain released in response to treatment. The same placebo needle produced different effects on the brain and the effects were significantly smaller than real acupuncture. They concluded that acupuncture certainly entails more than placebo effect.

    I hope I haven't confused you! :) Vitalis