Acupuncture is a healing technique of traditional Chinese medicine. It has been around for over 3,000 years, and when done right by a trained professional, is a safe and effective method for restoring balance and relieving pain in the body. Acupuncture is based on specific anatomic points called “acupoints.” These points are stimulated using tiny, thin needles, which correct the flow of energy— also called qi or chi—restoring balance and relieving pain. This treatment can be used for a wide range of disorders including emotional disorders, digestive disorders, hormone imbalances, pain disorders, and chronic diseases. Keep reading to find out how you can benefit from acupuncture.
Musculoskeletal pain relief
Acupuncture can treat all types of musculoskeletal pain. It has been known as an effective method of relieving chronic back, neck, or knee pain. Acupuncture can also calm a spastic or painful muscle in those who have experienced trauma to the muscle. People with joint pain, like those with arthritis, may also benefit from acupuncture because it can help to reduce inflammation and restore natural function to the joints. It may also be helpful in treating sciatica and tendonitis.
Treats hormone imbalance
Acupuncture can treat some conditions related to hormone imbalance. It is probably best known for managing fertility and menstrual problems in women with hormone imbalance. Acupuncture can help to decrease or relieve symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome including pain, tenderness, acne, cramping, appetite changes, and sleep changes among others. It can help women with fertility problems by regulating their cycles, restoring ovulation, and creating an ideal environment for implantation. Women going through menopause can also benefit from acupuncture to restore hormone balance and prevent uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and sleep problems. Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of endocrine problems including adrenal problems, thyroid problems, and others.
Acupuncture for anxiety and depression and other mood disorders
Acupuncture may be just as effective—and safer—than antidepressants for treating depression. Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders. The medications used to treat depression are often accompanied by unwanted side effects that can impact a patient’s daily life. Acupuncture is a safe method for treating depression, and it does not have any known side effects— like sexual dysfunction, which is often experienced in people taking antidepressants. Also, there are many studies that report positive findings for acupuncture in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety neurosis, and other anxiety disorders including panic disorders, phobias, and PTSD. It can also treat other mood disorders including bipolar disorder and other manic disorders. It has been shown to decrease the severity of mood swings associated with hormone changes or otherwise.
Treats sleep disorders
Research shows that acupuncture can have up to a 90 percent success rate in treating sleep disorders, like insomnia. Chinese medicine aims to treat insomnia first by understanding what type of insomnia a person is suffering from. They group insomnia into the following types:
- Difficulty falling asleep— or sleep onset
- Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep
- Waking up very early in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep— terminal or late insomnia
- Sleep with vivid and disruptive dreaming
- Inability to sleep in general
An acupuncturist will treat you based on your specific case, and which type of insomnia you have. Other sleep disorders that may be treated using acupuncture include:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
Acupuncture has been shown effective in relieving nausea related to chemotherapy treatment, motion sickness, morning sickness in pregnant women, or postoperative nausea. Acupuncture points for treating nausea are around the wrist and the forearm. Anti-nausea wristbands are also on the market to treat nausea by providing acupressure to these acupoints. The safety of this treatment makes it available to people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. It has also been proven as an effective cure for nausea in many studies.
Treats headaches and migraines
If you suffer from tension headaches, cluster headaches, migraines, or any other type of headache disorder, you may benefit from treatment with acupuncture. In one study, patients with chronic headaches experienced the equivalent of 22 fewer days of a headache per year with acupuncture. They also used 15 percent less medication and made 25 percent fewer visits to the doctor.
Improves allergy symptoms
Rather than turning to antihistamines and other allergy symptom-relieving medication, people are turning to acupuncture. In one study, 52 patients with allergic rhinitis had acupuncture once a week for six weeks. An improvement was noted in 85% of the active treatment group when compared with a 40% improvement in the control group.
Pregnancy, labor, and postpartum health
Acupuncture can treat all kinds of ailments related to pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum term. Acupuncture can treat back pain, sciatica, and other musculoskeletal pains related to pregnancy. It can also help treat morning sickness. When a woman is at her full term, acupuncture can help prepare the body for and to induce labor. After giving birth, many women experience postpartum blues and postpartum depression. Acupuncture is a safe and effective method for treating mood disorders related to giving birth.