Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, but modern Western medicine is just now uncovering some surprisingly positive outcomes to this traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture benefits range from easing back pain, to reducing migraines, and more. If you’re looking for pain relief or to boost your immune system, acupuncture treatment might just be the solution you need.
How Does Acupuncture Work
The basic overview of how acupuncture works is this: thin needles are inserted into specific points of the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, acupoints are places where energy flow is commonly disrupted, and the acupuncture needles help correct the imbalance of the flow. In Western medicine, these points have been found to stimulate the central nervous system, connective tissues, and blood flow.
Distrust in traditional Chinese medicine grew in the 1900s and was heavily stereotyped in films and literature, but now evidence-based studies have proven the beneficial effects of acupuncture, and it is an ever-growing option within modern medicine.
Surprising Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture therapy as complementary and alternative medicine can have some surprising effects on your overall health and quality of life. Below are some of the lesser known (though greatly beneficial) health conditions that can be treated with regular acupuncture sessions.
A controlled trial studying acupuncture and the side effects of menopause revealed that regular acupuncture sessions could help ease hot flashes. Those who received acupuncture therapy during the study saw a decrease in vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flashes, and an increase in quality of sleep and wellness. It only took 3 visits for participants to begin to experience the benefits of acupuncture therapy. A systematic review and meta-analysis conducted in 2018 also showed a marked decline in hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms after acupuncture therapy.
Another study showed that acupuncture can help relieve hot flashes in women who had been diagnosed with hot flashes and were receiving hormonal treatment.
Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Cancer treatment is hard on the body, but acupuncture therapy has been shown to lessen the severity of several side-effects patients experience while undergoing treatment. A systematic review and meta-analysis showed that it lessened fatigue associated with cancer treatments and has been shown to lessen nausea and pain associated with treatment.
In fact, many integrative health plans for cancer patients incorporate visits to an acupuncturist because of its beneficial effects.
If you suffer from chronic migraines, acupuncture may help with pain management. Controlled trials showed that acupuncture was a beneficial treatment when it came to acute migraine attacks. In fact, it was as effective in decreasing the duration of migraine attacks as some prescription medications…but without the harmful side effects.
Acupuncture was found to be an effective treatment for not just migraines but a number of chronic pain conditions like shoulder and lower back pain.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of disability among adults globally. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease where the tissue of the joint wears away. It’s a common cause of neck pain, hand pain, and severe knee pain, but can affect any joint. No cure exists yet for osteoarthritis, and treatment is only focused on pain management.
Acupuncture is an effective way to deal with the chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis. A review of controlled trials found that acupuncture therapy reduced pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee. Another systematic review found that it reduced pain in peripheral joint osteoarthritis.
One of the reasons that acupuncture is effective in pain management is that it releases endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller. These endorphins can help fight more than just low back pain or neck pain, though – they can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, too.
Integrative medicine has been incorporating acupuncture as a way to lessen the effects of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. When patients received antidepressants and made regular trips to an acupuncturist, they reported lower anxiety than those who were receiving antidepressants alone. A meta-analysis of twenty-nine studies also showed that acupuncture therapy could lower the severity of depression.
A study available on the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that acupuncture to be an effective way to manage asthma. A review of studies showed that acupuncture therapy reduces inflammatory cells which helps relieve chronic asthma. It’s also been suggested that acupuncture regulates the immune system and other factors that could prevent or reduce asthma attacks.
Some studies have shown that acupuncture can help treat infertility in men and women, but others have shown inconclusive results. Overall, a meta-analysis in 2020 concluded that more research is needed, but there was evidence of potential benefits in seeking acupuncture treatment for infertility.
Find Whole-Person Wellbeing at Meridian
Acupuncture could help you manage many chronic health conditions that are resistant to other treatments – without dependency on prescription medications. Our health providers at Meridian HealthCare believe that wellness requires creative solutions, and so we staff acupuncturists alongside primary care physicians in order for you and your loved ones to receive comprehensive, whole-person healthcare.
If you’re looking for a new solution for a chronic condition, reach out to discover the benefits of acupuncture and schedule an appointment – you may be happily surprised by the results.