This study sought to (1) assess the effectiveness of acupuncture and moxibustion with a method of soothing the liver and regulating the mind on the quality of life among patients with depression and (2) study the sex differences of acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of depression on the basis of patient-reported outcomes. Methods: In a single-blind, randomized, controlled trial conducted in Guangdong Province, China, in January and December 2010, 163 patients who met the criteria for depression were enrolled. Eligible patients were allocated to three treatment groups (soothing liver and regulating mind group, acupoint shallow puncturing group, and non-acupoint shallow puncturing group). In all three groups, the treatment was given twice a week for 12 weeks. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) and Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL90) were used to quantitatively assess patients before and 1 and 3 months after treatment. Results: Non-statistically significant differences in the acupuncture and moxibustion therapeutic effects of soothing liver and regulating mind treatment were found between men and women (p>0.05). An item-by-item analysis of the SCL90 and HAMD scores showed sex differences between the efficacy of the soothing liver and regulating mind group and the group receiving acupoint shallow puncturing. Women obtained lower scores in somatization, interpersonal relationship, anxiety, terror, and extremeness items and HAMD scores in the soothing liver and regulating mind group than in the acupoint shallow puncturing group (p<0.05), while men showed no significant differences between the soothing liver and regulating mind group and the acupoint shallow puncturing group (p>0.05). Conclusions: The therapeutic effect of soothing liver and regulating mind is similar for both sexes, but women were more sensitive to the efficacy of the soothing liver and regulating mind treatment compared with other methods. These findings could indicate an important issue to consider for the different acupuncture and moxibustion treatments for depression in men and women.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine