A pilot study from Japan shows that acupuncture can significantly improve depression and autonomic function in patients with medication-resistant depression. Thirty in-patients received either press-needle (PN) acupuncture or sham PN acupuncture (with a blunt press-needle) at eight acupoints for three days. The points used were bilateral Ximen P-4, Shousanli L.I.-10, Yinlingquan SP-9 and Sanyinjiao SP-6. Following PN acupuncture, participants showed significant improvement in depression scores, blood pressure and measures of vagal function, compared to sham PN. The authors suggest that improvement in vagal nerve function by acupuncture may be associated with its therapeutic mechanism in depression.
Acupuncture-induced changes of vagal function in patients with depression: A preliminary sham-controlled study with press needles. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 Aug;21(3):193-200.