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New hope for depression patients

Depression is on the rise and no wonder when you listen to the news, hearing the happenings of the world. Here in our own country we have seen or experienced so many traumas and if you watch the news about what's going on overseas it's enough to push many into the depths of depression. Valentine's Day has just passed and while for many it's a time to celebrate, for others it's a reminder of what they may be longing for, what they're missing from their lives or of bad memories.

This disease affects millions of people from all over the world, all races, nationalities and cultures. Someone may suffer from this illness when they feel their lives don't come up to their expectations due to myriad issues and therefore take the path to resignation and discouragement without being able to find an exit.

Depressive disorders affect almost 19 million Americans, or 9.5 percent of the population in any given one-year period and are estimated to cost the workplace more than $40 billion. At some point in their lives, 10-25 percent of women and 5-12 percent of men are likely to become clinically depressed. Even when depression is subclinical, the body's immune system is compromised and the symptoms reduce functioning and impair work performance and social relationships. Common symptoms of depressive disorders include a decreased interest in most activities, insomnia, fatigue, and feeling empty and worthless.

Harvard Medical School reports depression is one of the top five conditions for which people seek alternative medicine including acupuncture. The National Institutes for Health (NIH) funded a study at the University of Arizona; this research marked the first U.S. randomized, controlled, double-blind study of acupuncture's effectiveness in treating depression. The study concluded: "Acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in a good way" after research showed a 50 percent reduction in symptoms after only 12 treatments in 70 percent of the patients.

In another study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston it was demonstrated that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of clinical depression for patients who are non-responsive to conventional pharmaceutical antidepressant therapies. Patients received acupuncture for eight weeks at intervals of 1-2 times per week. The researchers concluded "standardized acupuncture treatment was safe, well-tolerated and effective, suggesting good feasibility in outpatient settings."

Other recent research demonstrates electroacupuncture has an antidepressant effect and prevents atrophy of brain cells. Researchers measured that electroacupuncture prevents atrophy of glial cells in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain which researchers note mounting data showing major depressive disorders are linked to glia cell atrophy.

While these studies and more have shown great improvement using acupuncture for clinical depression, it's important to remember that in traditional Chinese medicine we believe each and every person is unique, therefore treatment depends on the symptoms each person presents. While treating the whole person one can see far better results than these studies have shown as well as having an overall improved sense of wellbeing and improvement of other ailments.

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