Exploring the potential of Koryo hand acupuncture therapy to reduce symptoms of major depression

By Jong Kook Baik


"Major depression (MD) is the most severe disorder of persisting depressed mood" (Flaw & Lake, 2001). WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that "MD will become the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020, which is second only to ischemic heart disease" (Murray & Lopez, 1997).

"The effectiveness of both psychotherapies and drug therapies is hampered by high rates of dropout, recovery failure, and relapse, suggesting that these traditional treatments may provide insufficient or transient symptom relief for many" (Schnyer & Allen, 2001). This is why some form of continued maintenance treatment is necessary after initial recovery has occurred.

The purpose of this research was to investigate the potential of Koryo Hand Acupuncture Therapy (KHT) using KHT diagnosis and treatment by examining the perceived changes of participants diagnosed with MD.

The research set out to treat 4 MD participants who volunteered and fitted the research criteria. The overall study covered a course of ten KHT treatments, over a period of fifteen weeks.

Quantitative and qualitative research tools were used to record the participant's perception of change. This included two validated screening tools- Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP), a weekly personal depression journal (WPDJ) and participant treatment records (PTR). The results obtained throughout the study were analysed and presented in graph and table format.

The results of the study indicated that a course of KHT treatment could bring about positive outcomes in reducing the symptoms of MD. Participants taking part in the study experienced positive changes over the period of study in symptom relief and general well being.

In conclusion, it would appear that there is a potential role for KHT in reducing the symptoms of MD and that further studies are merited.