6 Proven Benefits of Acupuncture
When was the last time your doctor wrote out a prescription for massage therapy, aromatherapy or acupuncture? The likelihood is… never. Unless your medical practitioner is a Holistic therapist, alternative therapies are at best not considered as an appropriate treatment, and at worst, viewed as unscientific and unproven old wives tales. Acupuncture has been a successful therapy for over 5,000 years, and continues to work well where chemical based medicine fails. Some research has been conducted into the useful application of acupuncture which means shows that it can be considered as an alternative to more harmful treatments.
Researchers pooled the results of 18,000 people and the result was that the study concluded that acupuncture was an effective treatment for chronic pain in diseases such as arthritis. Here are six other ways that acupuncture has been proven to help.
Lower back pain is one of the main reasons people visit an acupuncturist. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who were given “simulated acupuncture,” or acupressure as it is more commonly known, where pressure was place on certain acupuncture points but no needles were actually used, saw as much as a 15% greater improvement in their symptoms (equal to the improvements seen in people who were receiving true acupuncture) than people who were taking medications and undergoing standard chiropractic care.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported on a study from China that found that a low-dose of fluoxetine (Prozac) combined with acupuncture was just as effective at reducing anxiety in patients being treated for depression as those on full-dose medication. Cutting the dose and adding acupuncture also reduced the drug’s side effects, which can include nausea, weight gain, and a decreased sex drive.
Brazilian researchers recently published research finding that acupuncture on pregnant women suffering from heartburn and indigestion has their symptoms relieved. One group of pregnant women was given a combination of acupuncture and medications, and another group was counseled on dietary changes and given medications if needed. Over the course of the study, 75% of the women in the acupuncture group saw heartburn intensity, and antacid use, decline, while only 44% of women in the standard-treatment group saw those same effects.
Radiation Treatment Side Effects
Cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment are likely to suffer a variety of side effects, depending on the part of the body being treated. However, acupuncture has been found to have an effect on the perception of how bad those effects are, particularly for nausea and dry mouth, common in patients receiving radiation to the head and neck. Studies published in CA, a journal of the American Cancer Society, found that people undergoing radiation treatment perceived fewer negative side effects of radiation even though the side effects may still be there. For instance, in one study, patients who wore acupressure bands during treatment said they felt less nausea, although they still had the same occurrence of vomiting as they did before wearing the band, and in another study, people said they had less of a problem with dry mouth, even though measures of their saliva showed that levels remained the same. The acupuncture didn’t actually alleviate the symptoms, but it did help improve patients’ quality of life after treatment.
Headaches and Migraines
The effect on migraines was one of the first studies done involving acupuncture, and it has been well documented that acupuncture effectively relieves the pain of persistent headaches and migraines. It was also proven in 22 studies to stop a migraine once the symptoms had started.
The success of acupuncture on obesity isn’t as well-documented as the others we have talked about, but there is evidence to suggest that it could be an effective weight-loss treatment. Scientists in Korea analyzed 31 studies of 3,013 people, and found that acupuncture led to decreases in body weight more significant than lifestyle changes or medications. They note in their findings, published in the journal Obesity, that flaws in many of the studies made it difficult to see how effective acupuncture therapy would be on obesity long term. But for people willing to try it, adding a weekly acupuncture session to daily exercise and a smart diet could lead to healthy gains.
Acupuncture is a non-invasive therapy that can, and does help. Take a consultation with a acupuncturist and see how it can help you.