Objective The aim of this study was to explore the effects of acupuncture on mild postpartum depression (PPD).
Methods 15 patients diagnosed with PPD were enrolled in the study. Patients who satisfied the inclusion criteria received acupuncture therapy eight times over 4 weeks in the form of two 20-min treatment sessions per week. The treatment site was the BL67 acupuncture point (on the outside of the fifth toenail). After disinfecting the skin on the toes, sterile steel needles were gently inserted into the acupuncture point until the patient started to feel numb or swollen, a sensation known as de qi. Acupuncture was performed by the same doctor using HuanQiu stainless steel needles that were 0.2 mm in diameter and 40 mm in length. The Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD) was used to evaluate the clinical effects of this therapy. Questionnaires were distributed to patients before therapy and 1 week after therapy and were immediately completed and checked.
Results Treatment was associated with symptomatic improvement for all patients who adhered to therapy. The nine patients who completed treatment had an average pain score of 6.66 (SD 0.86); these patients’ average pre-treatment pain score was 10.83 (SD 1.47). Six patients who did not complete treatment had an average pain score of 11.23 (SD 1.48); the average pre-treatment pain score of these patients was 10.5 (SD 2.21). Thus, symptoms did not significantly improve for patients who failed to adhere to the therapy. There was no significant difference between the two groups with respect to HAMD score before treatment (P=0.363). By contrast, asignificant between-group difference in post-treatment HAMD score was detected (P=0.001). Two patients discontinued treatment due to haemorrhage at the site of needling, and four patients discontinued treatment due to the inconvenience of traffic. There were no significant complications.
Conclusion Acupuncture therapy at BL67 may alleviate symptoms of mild PPD, however controlled clinical investigations are required to confirm its efficacy and effectiveness for this condition.
- postpartum depression (PPD)
- acupunctureZhi Yin(BL67)
- hamilton depression scale (HAMD)
- acupuncture point
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Contributors BCT conceived and designed the study and wrote the manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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