A growing number of people are seeking alternatives to antidepressant medications, and new research suggests that acupuncture could be a promising option. A study found the traditional Chinese practice to be as effective as antidepressants, and a different study found that acupuncture may help treat the medications' side effects.
Twenty patients were treated with acupuncture for 6 weeks and constituted the electroacupuncture control group. Another group of twenty-five patients were treated with oral fluoxetine - Prozac - (20 mg/day) for 6 weeks.
The study tracked their levels of glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), a neuroprotective protein. Previous studies have found lower amounts of GDNF among patients with major depressive disorder, and in other research levels of the protein rose after treatment with antidepressant medication.
The study showed that acupuncture treatment for depression is as effective as a recommended dose of fluoxetine (Prozac). However, acupuncture demonstrates an advantage in the regulation of the production of GDNF compared with fluoxetine.
If you are on medication, never come off of it without talking to your GP or health practitioner.
Full study here