A recent British study found people with depression may benefit as much from acupuncture as they do counseling.

"Even a patient who is acutely depressed, you know, for whatever circumstances are surrounding their life, they oftentimes will notice benefit with acupuncture, in terms of improving their mood, just feeling a state of calm and engaging in that relaxation response," explained Jamie Starkey, who did not take part in the study but is the lead acupuncturist at Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute.

University of York Researchers, in the UK, studied 755 moderately or severely depressed people.  They found those who received acupuncture or counseling reported lower depression scores than those who received neither treatment.     
About 70 percent of the people were also taking antidepressants a few months before the study.

Researchers say if the medication is not effective enough, counseling and/or acupuncture could become part of a multi-disciplinary approach. Starkey agrees that acupuncture provides an additional treatment option.

"A multi-disciplinary approach is always best in my opinion. Acupuncture with usual care, counseling with usual care, a multi-disciplinary approach oftentimes will lead to a better end-result," said Starkey.

Complete findings for this study can be found in the journal Plos Medicine.