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*HOW* acupuncture helps depressed patients

depression-acupuncture-cytokines
Recent research discovered that depression is not only psychiatric condition – it has a physiological manifestation in the brain. Scientists found that depressed patients have higher levels of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins which have an ability switch on inflammation in your body. These proteins can turn the brain into sickness mode – feeling down, lethargic, sleepy.

Acupuncture effective treatment for depression

This scientifically justified therapy showed promising results in patients who are diagnosed with depression, and especially, in patients with treatment resistant depression. Recent systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that acupuncture combined with antidepressant medication is effective, has an early onset of action, safe and well-tolerated over the first 6-week treatment period. Moreover, this treatment combination appears to result in greater therapeutic efficacy than SSRI therapy alone.

How acupuncture helps and why you should consider it

Previous experimental studies found that acupuncture can reduce cytokine levels in chronic headache patients. Research on rodents has shown that it can reduce cytokine levels in the brain.

One of the ways how acupuncture regulates your body is through the vagus nerve. This important nerve connects the organs with the brain. Via the Vagus nerve acupuncture can directly reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. And long term treatments can increase levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines. To achieve this benefit you need 3 or more months of regular treatment. This is not only beneficial for depression. Inflammation has been linked to heart disease, increase risk of cancer, affect your sleep, it makes it hard to lose weight, increases bone loss, damages your gums… Reducing inflammation can benefit your health significantly.

Currently there are a few theories explaining the therapeutic effects of this time-tested therapy for depressed patients. Cytokine theory is one of the most promising theory explaining how acupuncture treats depression.

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