Research appearing in Psychological Science (September, 1998; 9(5):397-401) looked at the effect acupuncture treatment had on depression. It was a small study, involving 38 women between the ages of 18 and 45, suffering from depression. The women were divided into three groups. One group received specific acupuncture treatment. One group received non-specific acupuncture treatment. A third group was placed on a waiting list. The waiting list group received specific acupuncture treatment after eight weeks of waiting. The group receiving specific acupuncture improved much more than the group receiving non-specific acupuncture.
Another randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 30 subjects suffering from mild to moderate depression appeared in Acupuncture Medicine (2005; 23(3): 103-11). One group of subjects received laser acupuncture and the control group received sham treatment. The subjects were treated twice per week for the first eight weeks and once per week for the second eight weeks of the study. They were evaluated with the Beck Depression Inventory. The group receiving the laser acupuncture improved significantly when compared to the control group (16.1 points drop compared to 6.8 points drop in the control group).