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A new study confirms that acupuncture enhances antidepressant drug therapy. Researchers discovered that acupuncture combined with paroxetine (Paxil, Sereupin, Aropax) is more effective than paroxetine alone. Researchers found that acupuncture accelerates clinical responses to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of drugs used for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Further, the researchers concluded that acupuncture prevents the aggravation of depression.

Acupuncture is effective for depression. ElectroacupunctureThe researchers divided 160 randomly assigned patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) into three groups. The first group received only paroxetine. The second group received paroxetine with manual acupuncture and the third group received paroxetine with electroacupuncture. The groups receiving acupuncture and electroacupuncture with paroxetine showed significantly greater improvements than the drug only group. There was no increase in adverse reactions due to acupuncture or electroacupuncture. A four week follow-up showed that electroacupuncture demonstrated significantly greater improvements in the recovery from depression than the other groups.

Another recent study confirms these findings. Investigators concluded that acupuncture and electroacupuncture improved “the quality of life in depressed patients undergoing paroxetine treatment.” Once again, electroacupuncture therapy demonstrated greater clinical improvements over the manual acupuncture group. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture were applied to DU16, DU14, P6 and SP6 for patients taking paroxetine. Acupuncture treatments were administered three times per week for a total of six weeks. Acupuncture needle retention time was thirty minutes per office visit. The researchers concluded that electroacupuncture combined with paroxetine was more effective for the treatment of depression than manual acupuncture with paroxetine or paroxetine alone.

There has been a flurry of new findings demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of depression. One recent MRI study concluded that laser acupuncture stimulates areas of the brain necessary for the treatment of depression. Laser light stimulation was applied to acupuncture points LR14, LR8, REN14 and HT7. The MRI scanner recorded activation of the DMN (default mode network) by laser acupuncture. The DMN is activated in healthy individuals when the mind is at rest or when the brain is not performing task oriented procedures. The investigators proved that laser acupuncture has a modulatory response on the DMN suggesting an antidepressant effect on the brain’s neurophysiological functions.

These new studies point to the same results demonstrated by research at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Here, researchers discovered that “acupuncture can provide significant symptom relief in depression, at rates comparable to those of psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy.” One common theme emerging is that the biochemical effects of acupuncture for the treatment of depression is similar to that of medications. Acupuncture has the ability to increase levels of monoamines. These include the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Many antidepressant drugs increase monoamines and studies now show that acupuncture increases monoamine levels or affects monoamine receptor site sensitivity. The interesting aspect of the new research is that investigators now combine acupuncture with antidepressant medications and have discovered, in numerous studies, that the combination yields superior patient outcomes.

Qu, Shan-Shan, et al. "A 6-week randomized controlled trial with 4-week follow-up of acupuncture combined with paroxetine in patients with major depressive disorder." Journal of Psychiatric Research (2013).

Ma SH, Qu SS, Huang Y, Chen JQ, Lin RY, Wang CQ, Li GL, Zhao CH, Guo SC, Zhang ZJ. Improvement in quality of life in depressed patients following verum acupuncture or electroacupuncture plus paroxetine: a randomized controlled study of 157 cases. Neural Regen Res. 2012;7(27):2123-2129.

Im Quah-Smith, Chao Suo, Mark A. Williams, and Perminder S. Sachdev. Medical Acupuncture. -Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/acu.2012.0901.

Allen, John JB, Rosa N. Schnyer, and Sabrina K. Hitt. "The efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of major depression in women." Psychological Science 9.5 (1998): 397-401.

Acupuncture CEUs Online

View our NCCAOM pre-approved courses for Safety, Ethics, & CPR requirements.

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Acupuncture CEU & PDA Online Courses FAQs

Below are a few of the most frequent questions we field. You can also find more on our SUPPORT page. If you still haven’t found your answer, please feel free to contact us anytime. We would love to hear from you.

Are acupuncture CEUs & NCCAOM PDAs valid in my state or province?

HealthCMi CEUs are valid in every state in the USA, including Washington DC and other regions such as Puerto Rico. Most states use the NCCAOM acupuncture CEU/PDA certification that comes with every HealthCMi course.

All courses are valid for specialty certifications from the California Acupuncture Board and the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners. HealthCMi courses are approved for Florida Board of Acupuncture CEs for acupuncture license renewal credit along with other specialty certifications such as the State of Illinois (IDFPR) acupuncture CE sponsor program. If you don’t see your state listed (North Carolina, New York, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Utah, etc.), that is because the rest of the USA is covered by the NCCAOM certification that comes with every HealthCMi course. We even have courses approved through the specialty programs of the State of Nevada Board of Oriental Medicine, ABORM, IVAS, and more. An added bonus, all courses are California Board of Registered Nursing approved, so nurses can get acupuncture CEUs and nursing continuing education credit simultaneously.

In addition, HealthCMi acupuncture CEUs are valid throughout New Zealand, Canada (including CTCMA, BC and CAAA), and Australia for acupuncture continuing education credit.

Check our interactive map to learn more about your CEU credits >

Do acupuncture webinars count as live CEUs?

Yes. In many states that require in-person attendance, live acupuncture webinars count for face-to-face CEU credit. For example, the California Acupuncture Board allows 25 CEUs via distance learning and the other 25 must be live (in a classroom or a live webinar online). New Jersey acupuncturists also benefit from live webinars for in-class requirement fulfillment. In the USA, no quiz is required for live webinars and for CTCMA acupuncturists in British Columbia (Canada), the survey fulfills the 2-way requirement and no quiz is required.

For live webinars, do I need to take a quiz?

Quizzes are not required for live webinars, only for anytime distance learning courses. You may see a quiz button on the learning management system control panel; however, if you try to take a quiz, the system will tell you that it is unnecessary. Make sure to click the download button to get the link to the live webinar. We will also send you a link via email the day before the event.

How do I purchase Acupuncture CEU courses online?

Click on Acupuncture CEUs in the top menu to view all course listings and follow the links. Simply choose the courses you like, add to cart, and get CEU credit from our online learning system.

HealthCMi courses are NCCAOM Diplomate PDA (applies to most States), California CEU, Florida CE, Texas CAE, CTCMA (BC, Canada), CAAA, Illinois, and State of Nevada Board of Oriental Medicine approved for continuing education credit hours and more. Massachusetts licensed acupuncturist can obtain their herbal medicine hours or acupuncture category required hours. All 50 states and territories in the USA are approved for acupuncture CEU credit for HealthCMi courses. Our acupuncture CEUs are also valid throughout Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and much more.

Check listings for ABORM approved courses. All courses for acupuncturists are also California Board of Registered Nursing approved.

How long do I have to take the Acupuncture CEU courses online?

There is no time limit for course completion of your Acupuncture CEU or PDA courses.

How many times can I retake Acupuncture CEU course quizzes?

You make re-take quizzes until a passing grade is achieved. A certificate of completion is automatically generated, and you may print it. There is no extra charge to re-take quizzes.