A novel acupuncture treatment strategy called dense cranial electro-acupuncture stimulation (DCEAS) has been shown to enhance anti-depressant efficacy in the early phase of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD). DCEAS involves the electrical stimulation of acupuncture points on the head (including Baihui DU-20, Yintang M-HN3, Sishencong M-HN-1, Toulinqi GB-15, Taiyang M-HN-9, Shuaigu GB-8 and Touwei ST-8), with the rationale that this may stimulate the release of serotonin (5-HT) and other neurochemicals in the brain. In a single-blind, randomised controlled study carried out in Hong Kong, 73 patients were randomly assigned to DCEAS or a control non-invasive electro-acupuncture (n-EA) procedure, in combination with the drug fluoxetine (FLX, Prozac) for three weeks. Patients treated with DCEAS displayed a significantly greater reduction in depression scores at days three and 21 compared with patients receiving n-EA.  (Dense cranial electroacupuncture stimulation for major depressive disorder-a single-blind, randomized, controlled study. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29651).

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