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This is brief summary of Dr Kirk Wilson’s research at the University of Technology, Sydney


This study was designed to test the effectiveness of using acupuncture (as an adjunct treatment to SSRI antidepressants medication) in the treatment of depression. Further comparisons were made to test how both sexes responded to the acupuncture intervention.


Inclusion criteria required subjects to be diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder according to DSM-IV-TR and to be prescribed and taking Serotonin Selective Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressant medication. All subjects were required to continue to take their SSRI’s medication during their involvement in the study.


Subjects who satisfied the inclusion criteria were randomly assigned into either an acupuncture treatment group or a wait list control group. Those in the acupuncture treatment group received an acupuncture treatment program of twelve treatments over an eight-week period in conjunction with their prescribed medication. Those in the wait list control group received no acupuncture but like the acupuncture treatment group also continued to take their SSRI antidepressant medication for an equal period of eight weeks. Pre and post assessment were made using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) along with other depression and anxiety measures.

Results – acupuncture intervention plus medication

Post intervention assessments indicated 87% of subjects in the acupuncture treatment group no longer fit the diagnostic criteria of Major Depressive Disorder after the acupuncture intervention. On average, subjects entered the study classified as moderately depressed (average BDI score of 27.39) compared to an average post treatment rating of minimally depressed (average BDI score of 12.03). The change in scores was found to be statistically significant. Comparisons based on sex showed similar improvements between males and females.

Results- medication only

Subjects in the wait list control group demonstrated no statistically significant change in their levels of depression.


  • 1.) Acupuncture may be effective in treating depression when it is used as an adjunct therapy to SSRI antidepressants.
  • 2.) Depressed males and females who took SSRI antidepressants responded similarly to the acupuncture treatment.

For more information, Dr Wilson’s thesis can be found at:

Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) in the Media

University of Technology, Sydney
UTS Research
“Acupuncture depression trial needs to be more blokey”
Link: http://cfsites1.uts.edu.au/research/news/detail.cfm?ItemId=9966

University of Technology, Sydney
UTS Newsroom
11 September, 2007
“Pinning down depression”
Link: http://newsroom.uts.edu.au/news/2007/09/pinning-down-depression

The Australian Newspaper
“Depression may have traditional cure”
By Mike Riddiford
4th September, 2010
Link: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/depression-may-have-traditional-cure/story-fn6a9711-1225909317882

The Daily Telegraph Newspaper
7th September, 2007
“A prick could solve depression”
By Edith Bevan
Link: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/a-prick-could-solve-depression/story-e6frf00i-1111114359054

Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper
13th June, 2008
“Needles ease depression’s pain”
By Australian Associated Press
Link: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/needles-ease-depressions-pain-20090407-9xxq

WA Today Newspaper
12th June, 2008
“Needles help ease depression pain: study”
By Tamara McLean
Link: http://www.watoday.com.au/national/needles-help-ease-depression-pain-study-20080611-2pan

Grand United Health Fund
GU Health Inform Magazine
May – June, 2009
“Pinning Down Acupuncture”
Link: https://www.guhealth.com.au/wellness/Pages/Alternative_Acupuncture.aspx

Nine MSN Website
12th June, 2008
“Needles help ease depression pain: study”

Inner West Weekly Newspaper
7th August, 2008
“Piercing Depression Trial”
By Jessica Campion
Link: web page to follow

University of Technology, Sydney
Stay Connected
Spring 2008
“Needles Ease Depression Pain”
By Chrissa Favaloro
Link: web page to follow

Sydney Star Observer Newspaper
5th June, 2008
“Thinking Outside the Depression Box”
By Harley Dennett
Link: http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/local-news/new-south-wales-news/thinking-outside-the-depression-box/12803

Central Magazine, Sydney
18 June, 2008
“Puncturing the Blues”
By Jennifer Bennett
Link: web page to follow

The Otago Times Daily Newspaper, New Zealand
11th June 2008
“Needles help ease pain of depression: study”

Expert Guide Website
23rd February, 2008
Source: University of Technology, Sydney
Link: http://www.expertguide.com.au/news/article.aspx?ID=775

Cancers (Website)
6th October, 2007
Sydney Morning Herald
“Quest For A Cure”
By Joan-Maree Hargreaves

Stuff Website in New Zealand
12th June 2008
“Needles ease depression – study”

Medical Research Australia and New Zealand
12th June 2008
“Needles help ease pain of depression: Study finds”
Link: http://www.medicalsearch.com.au/News/Fed-Needles-help-ease-pain-of-depression-Study-finds-32728

Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper
17th September, 2007
“Pins and needles relieve hay fever”
By Alex Tibbitts

The Times of India
15th June, 2008
“Got the blues? Try acupuncture”