[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 5, 1974

Acupuncture for Psychiatric Disorders

Author Affiliations

Cornell Medical College New York

JAMA. 1974;229(6):639. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230440015013

To the Editor.—  It was recently reported that in China, acupuncture is a common adjunct in the therapy of psychiatric disorders such as manicdepressive states.1,2 The use of acupuncture in the treatment of psychiatric disorders has long been well documented in various acupuncture texts. Investigations into the neurophysiological mechanism of acupuncture therapy have, so far, been very limited.Over the past several years, L-tryptophan has been found by many investigators to be useful in the treatment of mania and depression. In a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study, Prange et al3 recently reported that L-tryptophan was slightly superior to chlorpromazine (Thorazine) hydrochloride in all regards in the treatment of mania. They postulated that mania and depression may be linked by an indoleamine deficit in the central nervous system.The effect of acupuncture on the level of L-5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) in the brain was demonstrated recently by a Chinese research group.4