NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) came to York last week to interview York Clinic Director Hugh MacPherson about the benefits of acupuncture for depression.

They came to York because a research team at the University of York, led by Hugh MacPherson, conducted a clinical trial for depression, where the benefits of acupuncture or counselling were compared to the effectiveness of usual medical care, such as antidepressants.

The study involved 755 patients with depression, and showed that both acupuncture and counselling significantly reduced the severity of depression, and the benefits were sustained for up to a year after treatment.

Professor MacPherson said: “The front-line treatment for depression in primary care usually involves antidepressants; however, they do not work well for more than half of patients.  In the largest study of its kind, we have now provided a solid evidence base to show that not only can acupuncture and counselling bring patients out of an episode of depression, but it can keep the condition at bay for up to a year on average.”

Professor MacPherson added: “Our new data provides a significant step forward in managing depression, because patients and health professionals can now make decisions on acupuncture with more confidence. Not only is it more cost effective, but it improves mood levels, which could reduce over reliance on drugs that can sometimes result in unwanted side effects.”

The full Report on the benefits of acupuncture for depression can be found here.

The JapanTV programme will be broadcast in February 2020.  Details will be shared on the clinic website nearer the time.

If you would like more information on acupuncture or counselling please contact York Clinic, or to book an appointment by phone call 01904 709688 between 9am and 6pm on weekdays, or between 9am and 1pm on Saturdays.  Alternatively, email us at, or use our contact form.  We will respond to you as quickly as possible.