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October 2, 2017

8 Benefits of Acupuncture: Why Alternative Medicine Works

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine, only recently began gaining popularity as an alternative to modern medicine. As popularity increases, as have studies on the effectiveness of this treatment since the late 1990’s.

Acupuncture is designed to improve the way your body is already working and stimulate your body’s ability to heal itself. By inserting fine, sterile needles into the skin at certain acupoints, they work on those areas. Then, they get the body’s systems going again if they haven’t been working properly. Some acupuncturists will add heat, massage, or topical herbal medicines to increase the effects of acupuncture. Yet, there are some obvious benefits of acupuncture you should know about.

benefits of acupuncture

How Does Acupuncture Help You Feel Better?

The benefits of acupuncture are extensive and have gained traction through the last decade with medical professionals. The information below is meant as a guide to eight benefits of acupuncture that professionals have reported and studied. They are not meant to diagnose or treat any specific disease. You should consult with your doctor if you are considering acupuncture as a treatment option.

You should also note that there has been an alarming increase in what practitioners call sham acupuncture. This refers to acupuncture that does not come from traditional Chinese medicinal practices. This acupuncture is less precise than traditional forms. It can be difficult to determine whether your acupuncturist is following the traditional methods. However, asking thorough questions before you allow them to begin treatment can help reveal their practices. You can use a guide to help you question both yourself and your potential acupuncturist before deciding on treatment.

The following benefits of acupuncture went through extensive study and are still under evaluation. New studies come out constantly. While some studies reveal contradictory results, the majority of well-organized and well-executed studies show promising medical data related to the benefits of acupuncture.

8 Areas Which Acupuncture Successfully Covers

1. Improvements in Chronic Pain

One of the most famous benefits of acupuncture is chronic pain management. This one has gone through the most research to verify its effectiveness.

This research has shown positive results on the pain experienced by patients before and after trying acupuncture for back, knee, and muscle pain. Pain from surgeries and aging have also seen positive improvements through acupuncture.

2. Arthritis Pain and Inflammation

Arthritis affects millions of people all over the world. Yet, most modern medicine focuses on pain management and does little to address the inflammation that causes this pain. Acupuncture, on the other hand, has its basis on the belief that the body can heal itself if certain points are activated to do so.

Through regular treatment and collaboration with your doctors, arthritis pain can be greatly improved using acupuncture. The technique to help stimulate the body to bring down inflammation. Also, it reduces pain on its own after removal of the acupuncture needles.

3. Sleep Disorders

One of the benefits of acupuncture is that it increases the level of melatonin in the body naturally. Melatonin is a chemical that your body produces. This stubstance induces sleep and controls your sleeping patterns.

Research on acupuncture and sleep has revealed that some patients see an improvement in their sleep patterns in a matter of weeks.

4. Head and Neck Pain

Another of the more well-known and well-studied benefits of acupuncture, treating head and neck pain with this method has shown consistent results over the years. This is all despite researchers not completely understanding the methods and reasoning behind it. This research has shown that patients have a lower occurrence of head and neck pain with regular treatment.

It also supports the lower chance of side effects due to strong pain medication for headaches and migraines if you use acupuncture instead or along with medications. The same is true for neck pain. This area has enjoyed the most consistent study results in recent years showing acupuncture as a widely reliable, side-effect free way to ease chronic neck pain.

chemotherapy

5. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy consistently remains the prevalent treatment option for cancer patients. However, ways to relieve the many side effects of these treatments are in high demand. Acupuncture is currently being under study for its potential to reduce nausea and vomiting during and after chemotherapy treatments.

Preliminary studies show acupuncture’s effectiveness in preventing side effects the day of treatment. But these benefits of acupuncture appear to lesson in the days following the treatments.

6. Nausea and Vomiting

Using acupuncture points on the forearm near the wrist is a common treatment practice for patients experiencing nausea and vomiting. It is commonly used after surgery to help patients recover from anesthesia in a gentler way.

The appeal of this treatment is that it is an alternative to medications from hospitals that often have long-lasting side effects.

7. Anxiety and Depression

Common medications for anxiety and depression come with a laundry list of side effects that many patients experience. These two mental health conditions often receive two separate treatments. However, there is some overlap in the methods for treating them.

Studies on using acupuncture to treat anxiety and depression, specifically in pregnant mothers, have shown positive results to warrant further investigation. While comprehensive mental health is still a relatively new concept, along with acupuncture, there is evidence that the two fields can build off of one another to improve the lives of patients.

8. Stress Reduction

One of the least understood benefits of acupuncture, stress reduction is felt the fastest in patients undergoing treatments. Similarly to how acupuncture improves anxiety and depression, stress reduction links to the increase in endorphins.

Stimulation of different points in the body covers the production of these substances. Patients experience a better response and tolerance to stress both immediately and in the weeks following their acupuncture treatments.

Final Thoughts

Providing alternatives to modern medicine, acupuncture continues to grow in popularity. Meanwhile, patients become wary of side effects and long term dependencies. The benefits you read about above are just a few of the great results people enjoy with this alternative medicine.

Have you experienced the benefits of acupuncture? Tell us your story! We would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment or send us an email with your experience.

Images from pixabay.com.

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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