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Acupuncture for pregnancy depression

In a study carried out at Stanford University, 61 women with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments:
(i). Individually tailored true acupuncture designed to treat their depression,
(ii). True acupuncture but with points not chosen to treat the depression, and
(iii). Massage treatment (included to provide a control for attention, physical contact, relaxation and respite from daily stress).

Acute phase treatment was given for twelve sessions over eight weeks, with continued treatment throughout pregnancy for those who responded.

As far as possible the acupuncture treatment was double-blinded, with the treatment
to be given by a treating acupuncturist determined by a different (assessing) acupuncturist. The assessment, treatment design, needle insertion, and needle stimulation were all standardised. Response rates at the end of the acute
phase were:
68.8% in the depression specific acupuncture,
47.4% in the non depression-specific acupuncture, and
31.6% in the massage group.

The study also showed that successful treatment of depression during pregnancy offers protection from postpartum depression.

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