Did you know that depression is not only a psychological/psychiatric condition? Recent studies have shown that it has a physiological manifestation in the brain. Scientists found that depressed patients have higher levels proteins called cytokines. These proteins have an ability to trigger inflammation in your body and make you feeling down, lethargic, and sleepy.
Acupuncture effective treatment for depression
Acupuncture has been found to be an effective treatment for depression, especially for patients who have treatment resistant depression. According to a recent study(systematic review and meta-analysis) acupuncture combined with antidepressant medication can lead to has an early results, are safe and well-tolerated over the first 6-week treatment period. Moreover, this combination of treatments has been shown to be more effective than just using antidepressant medication alone.
So how does acupuncture for depression work?
Well, previous experimental studies found that acupuncture can actually reduce cytokine levels in chronic headache patients. And research on rodents has shown that it can reduce cytokine levels in the brain.
Vagus nerve connects the organs to the brain. And acupuncture can directly reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines via this nerve. And long term treatments can reduce inflammation by increasing levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines. To achieve this you need 3 or more months of acupuncture done correctly at correct frequency. This doesn’t only benefit depression. In fact, inflammation has been linked to heart disease, increased the risk of cancer. Inflammation affects your sleep, makes it harder to lose weight, increases bone loss, damages your gums. By reducing inflammation, you can improve your overall health and well-being.
There are a few different theories about how acupuncture benefits depression, but the cytokine theory seems to be one of the most promising. So if you’re struggling with depression or just want to take proactive steps to improve your health, consider trying acupuncture.