Patient-perceived changes during a course of traditional acupuncture treatment for Postnatal Depression: A cohort of four case studies

Beverley Lawton 2002


This study addresses the following research questions:

Part One

What changes do patients with a Western Medicine diagnosis of postnatal depression perceive in themselves, whilst undergoing a course of traditional acupuncture treatment?

Part Two

Does traditional acupuncture meet the expectations of these patients?

The study looks at the patient-perceived changes that took place as four Postnatal Depression (PND) sufferers progressed through a course of ten acupuncture treatments. The patients’ individual expectations of acupuncture were documented and assessed. Quantitative and qualitative research tools were used to record the patients’ perceptions of change. These included two validated screening tools, a shortened version of another validated screening tool, semi-structured interviews, Field Diary notes and Patient Notes. These are presented in graph and table format throughout the dissertation, and are analysed and discussed. Each patient was diagnosed with a variety of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) syndromes, two of which were common to all patients. These were Liver Qi stagnation and Kidney Yin and Yang deficiency. Triangulation protocols, member checking and the comprehensive and accurate recording of data were used to ensure reliability and validity. The study highlights areas for further research.

It is concluded that the use of traditional acupuncture in the treatment of PND can result in positive outcomes. All patients in this study perceived significant positive changes, affecting all aspects of well being. In accordance with a standard screening tool, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), at the conclusion of the study all patients were no longer considered to be suffering from PND.