If you are in New Zealand, you may have read the article on stuff.co.nz titled “Needles ease depression“. The article cites a small Australian study, which shows that acupuncture can effectively relieve severe depression. A quick web search has shown that the results of this particular study, even though quite dramatic, are still preliminary. The study is not completed yet.
I did a bit more digging in medical databases online and found another study published earlier this year in Journal of affective disorders. This study is a meta analysis (which is quite a lot higher up on the evidence based medicine hierarchy ladder).
The researchers reviewed and summarised results of eight randomised controlled trials. They confirmed that acupuncture significantly reduced the severity of depression, which was indicated by decreased scores of Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAMD) or Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).