Those suffering from depression may have a new, non-drug, treatment to help them relieve their symptoms.
According to a new study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, adding acupuncture and/or counseling to a depression treatment could help decrease symptoms.
According to the Huffington Post, study researcher Dr. Hugh MacPherson, of the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, said in a statement:
“To our knowledge, our study is the first to rigorously evaluate the clinical and economic impact of acupuncture and counselling for patients in primary care who are representative of those who continue to experience depression in primary care.”
According to Time, a group of around 750 patients was split into three groups for this depression study.
One group was provided with 12 weekly acupuncture sessions on top of their usual care, and the second received 12 weekly sessions of counseling combined with their usual care.
The final group simply continued on with their usual care. According to Time, the results were as follows:
“During the first three months of the study, both the acupuncture and counseling groups showed a greater reduction in depression symptoms compared to the patients only receiving usual care. However, as the study went on, there were no noticeable differences between the three forms of care at nine and 12 months.”
According to the Reuters, Hugh MacPherson, the study’s lead author from the University of York in the UK, stated that “Clearly acupuncture is a new option. This is the first evidence that acupuncture really helps.”
The risks associated with acupuncture are low compared to some drug treatments used to treat depression.
Some risks can include soreness, organ injury and infections according to the Mayo Clinic.
This study showed researchers that there are other options that could help relieve the symptoms of depression, but more research into these methods still needs to be done to really know.
[Image via Shutterstock/ Moving Moment]