Research: EICH and colleagues, Klin

Listed in Issue 55


EICH and colleagues, Klinik fur Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, am Evangelischen Krankenhaus Gelsenkirchen Universitatsklinik der Ruhr-Universitat Bochum studied the effects of acupuncture for patients with minor depression and generalized anxiety.



The authors conducted a placebo-controlled, randomized, modified double-blind study to study the effects of body needle acupuncture (n = 10) in 43 patients with minor depression and 13 patients with generalized anxiety disorders. Severity of disease was assessed using the Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI). Treatment response was defined as a significant improvement in CGI. An intent-to-treat analysis was performed to compare treatment responses between verum and placebo acupuncture.


Following the completion of 10 acupuncture sessions, the verum acupuncture group (n = 28) showed a significantly larger clinical improvement compared to the placebo group. There were significantly more responders in the verum-compared to the placebo group (60.7% vs. 21.4%). There were no differences in the response rates just following 5 acupuncture sessions. Multivariate analysis and results of the additional rating scales (HAMA) revealed a clear trend towards lower HAMA scores in the verum group following the completion of 10 acupuncture sessions. This corresponds well to the high response rate of 85.7% in patients with generalized anxiety disorders, in whom verum acupuncture was used.


These results indicate that needle acupuncture (Du.20, Ex.6, He.7, Pe.6, B1.62) leads to a significant clinical improvement as well as a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms in patients with minor depression or with generalized anxiety disorders. The total sum of acupuncture sessions and the specific location of acupuncture needle insertions may be important factors for bringing about therapeutic improvement.


Eich H et al. Acupuncture in patients with minor depressive episodes and generalized anxiety. Results of an experimental study. Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie 68(3): 137-44. Mar 2000.

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