East West Acupuncture

East West Acupuncture

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Emotional Wellbeing


Acupuncture is commonly used to treat stress, anxiety and depression. It has been shown to influence various neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, including noradrenaline and serotonin. Indeed, the most common "side-effect" of acupuncture treatment reported by patients is a feeling of calm and an improved sense of well-being. Patients often describe themselves as feeling relaxed, even mildly disoriented, and often “more whole” or “connected.” Functional MRI studies have shown that various centers in the brain, including the limbic system (the “emotional brain”), are activated by acupuncture.

Several controlled trials have shown acupuncture’s effectiveness in cases of depression to be comparable to amytriptyline with no difference in long-term recurrence rates, but with none of the side-effects (Luo et al 1985; Lou et al 1990; Yang 1994). Acupuncture has also been shown to reduce HAD (Hospital Anxiety and Depression) scales in cases of chronic pain conditions (Tao 1993). Acupuncture can improve sleep in most patients. Authors have noted a similarity of response to benodiazepine drugs (Lo & Chung 1979). In China, acupuncture is often used to treat schizophrenia, and several successful trials have been reported (Kane & Di Scipio 1979, Shi & Tan 1986). Experimental studies have also shown a rise in L-5 hydroxytryptophan in rabbits following acupuncture, which could be a good reason to use acupuncture in manic-depressive states (Chei n & Zakaria 1974).

Luo H C, Jia Y K, Li Z 1985 Electroacupuncture vs amitriptyline in the treatment of depressive states. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 5:3-8

Lou I, Jia Y, Wu X, Dai W 1990 Electro-acupuncture in the treatment of depressive psychosis. A controlled prospective randomised trial using electro-acupuncture and amitriptyline in 241 patients. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture 1:7-13.

Yang X 1994 Clinical observation on needling extra-channel points in treating mental depression. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 14:14-18

Tao D J 1993 Research on the reduction of anxiety and depression with acupuncture. American Journal of Acupuncture 21:327-330

Lo C W, Chung Q Y 1979. The sedative effect of acupuncture. American Journal of Chinese Medicine VII :253-258.

Kane J, Di Scipio W 1979 Acupuncture treatment of schizophrenia: report on three cases. American Journal of Psychiatry 136:297-302. RESULTS: In a 9-week study of three schizophrenics, two patients responded positively to true acupuncture treatment and negatively to “sham” treatment and a third patient showed no significant response to treatment.

Shi Z, Tan M 1986 An analysis of the therapeutic effect of acupuncture treatment in 500 cases of schizophrenia. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 6:99-104. RESULTS: “Cure” in 275 patients, no help in 58 patients and varying imrpovement in the rest In a follow-up of 194 patients, 63 relapsed within 2 years. Patients wit ha history of less than 1 year showed a more favorable response, but even a 10-year history did not prevent nine patients from responding favorably.

Zhang M 1988 Treatment of 296 cases of hallucination with scalp-acupuncture. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 8:193-194. RESULTS: Of 296 cases of hallucination, 292 had schizophrenia. RESULTS: 10 daily sessions with the needles retained between 1 and 3 hours resulted in a 70% “cure” rate after 10-20 treatments

Chein E Y M, Zakaria S 1974 Acupuncture for psychiatric disorders. Journal of the American Medical Association 229:639.