Acupuncture treats more than pain. Why it’s an exciting whole body healer and common symptoms it treats.
By Kileen Swenson Lac
Acupuncture therapy is a component of traditional Chinese medicine that uses hair thin needles inserted into the body to achieve a variety of effects. Namely, initiating biochemical changes that may stimulate the body’s natural healing response and help to down regulate the nervous system. It is a lineage of medicine that dates back 3,500 years or more and is used today in hospitals, integrative clinics and private practice for a wide variety of issues.
Here are the top five benefits:
1. Reduce Pain
Acupuncture is highly effective for the use in both acute and chronic pain reduction. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), a handful of studies point to the fact that acupuncture therapy works particularly well for chronic pain such as, different types of back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis conditions 1 Acupuncture is often used today in conjunction with physical therapy for the treatment and relief of sports related injuries.
2. Opioid Dependence reduction
In addition to lessening pain, acupuncture has been shown to aid in the diminution of pain medications, specifically opioids, in people experiencing chronic and persistent pain2. A common treatment using acupuncture needles in the ear called the five needle protocol or NADA and is often utilized in rehabilitation clinics for opioid and other drug dependency3
3. Stress Relief
According to traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture is a tool that supports the body’s natural flow of energy called, Qi. Select Acupuncture points can help energy flow. Thus stimulating stagnant energy (Qi) to move and align a person’s central nervous system into a state of homeostatic calm4 Stress has shown to impair physiological and mental balance, which can lead to disease. Acupuncture treatment is one method that can be used to help the body cope with stress.
4. Improved Immune system
Traditional Chinese medicine has been compared to functional medicine or natural medicine in that it strives to find the root of a physiological or psychological dysfunction. The immune system is a complex defense system that can be over or under functional. Acupuncture therapy has been shown to enhance immune system resistance, defense, surveillance and homeostasis5
5. Women’s health and management of reproductive health
Acupuncture and herbal medicine associated with Chinese medicine paired with western medicine protocols have shown to significantly improve menstrual, pre and post menopausal and reproductive disorders. 6 Acupuncture therapy can also help improve the success of pregnancy rates when combined with IVF therapy7
Overall, Acupuncture therapy is not limited to these five benefits. It also addresses a broad array of chronic and acute symptoms from commonplace to complex. Western culture is still discovering all the benefits acupuncture has to offer. As acupuncture and integrative medicine in general are becoming familiarized and well understood by western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine continues to hold true to its rich history of aiding in the healing of mind and body.
1. NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, www.nccih.nih.gov, last updated January 2022
2. Seunghoon Lee, KMD, PhD and Dae-Hyun Jo, KMD, MS, Acupuncture for reduction of opiod consumption in chronic pain: A systematic review and meta analysis protocol. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Dec; 98(51): e18237
3. Rickard Ahlberg, Kurt Skarberg, Ole Brus and Lars Kjellin, Auricular Acupuncture for substance use: a randomized controlled trial of effects on anxiety, sleep, drug use and use of addiction treatment services. 2016 BMC. Copywrite 2022 BioMed Central Ltd
4. Mehmet Tugrul Cabioglu, Sevgin Ozlem Iseri, Aysel Esen Coban, ferhan Coban. Role Of Acupuncture in Stress management. Marmara Pharmaceutical Journal 16: 107-114, 2012
5. Fengxia Liang, Edwin L. Cooper, […], and Tesuya Kondo. Acupuncture and Immunity. Evidence Based Complimentary Alternative Med. 2015; 2015260620 published online 2015 Aug 5.
6. Cochrane,Suzanne, Caroline Smith, […], and Alan Bensoussan. Acupuncture and Women’s health; an overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in woman’s reproductive health. Int Journal Womens Health. 2014; 6;313-325. School of science and health, Penrith, NSW, Australia
7. Dr. Lee E Hullender Rubin, Belinda J Anderson, LaTasha B Craig. Acupuncture and in vitro fertilization research: Current and future directions. PubMed December 12, 2008.