Study Finds Using the Five Liver Shu Points Effective for Depression

Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, herbal medicine and other aspects, is commonly used to treat a broad range of psychiatric disorders including depression.  Various studies observe a facet of changes in brain chemistry, circulation, inflammation and various other markers from acupuncture and associated techniques.  As of yet, however, no one can clearly state how, exactly, acupuncture helps depression - which just observe a positive clinical effect. 

In a recent study from Chongqing Medical University in China, researchers examined changes in blood rheology in depressed patients after acupuncture and bloodletting certain points. 

Researchers selected 30 patients with depression and divided them equally into a medication group and a acupuncture with bloodletting group.  [bloodletting is a technique in Chinese Medicine where small amounts of blood are let out of acupuncture points to release "heat" and/or "stagnation"]  The western medicine group was given 20mg of Prozac.  The acupuncture group received treatment at the five shu points of the liver meridian points:

Acupuncture treatment was offered every other day for 2 months.

Depression symptoms were assessed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) and the Clinical Global Impression Scale for Severity of Illness (CGI-SI) before and 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks after the treatment, respectively. Changes of hemorheology were detected by using a blood rheology detector.

The researchers found that initially the acupuncture and the medication group both improved with 11 of each 15 either  being "cured" or "markedly improved".  At week 6 and week 8, however, the acupuncture group scores were significantly better than the medication group.  Both groups showed equal changes in the blood with the low and high shear viscosity of whole blood, erythrocyte aggregation index and rigidity index, and fibrinogen levels of the two groups shown as decreased.

Researchers concluded that acupuncture of the five shu point of the liver meridian combined with bloodletting is effective in relieving depression symptoms and in improving blood rheology.


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