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Acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled pilot trial.

01 Aug
Researchers from the University of Louisville recently studied the potential efficacy and acceptability of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and found some promising outcomes lasting three months post-treatment..
Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, KY recently published a study evaluating the potential efficacy and acceptability of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

People diagnosed with PTSD were randomized to either an empirically developed acupuncture treatment (ACU), a group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or a wait-list control (WLC). The primary outcome measure was self-reported PTSD symptoms at baseline, end of treatment, and 3-month follow-up.

Compared with the wait list condition, acupuncture provided large treatment effects for PTSD (F [1, 46] = 12.60; p < 0.01; Cohen''s d = 1.29), similar in magnitude to group CBT (F [1, 47] = 12.45; p < 0.01; d = 1.42) (ACU vs. CBT, d = 0.29). Symptom reductions at the end of treatment were maintained at the 3-month follow-up for both interventions.

The study concludes that acupuncture may be an efficacious and acceptable non-exposure treatment option for PTSD. They caution that larger trials with additional controls and methods are warranted to replicate and extend these findings.

Citation: Hollifield M, Sinclair-Lian N, Warner TD, Hammerschlag R. Acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled pilot trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders. 2007 Jun; 195 (6): pages 504-13.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award