If you’ve never had an acupuncture treatment, the thought of sticking needles into your body to relieve pain is a bit counterintuitive. But the health benefits of acupuncture have stood the test of time. After all, this ancient Chinese therapy has a track record of more than 5,000 years of success. Thousands of my Whitaker Wellness patients and Health & Healing subscribers alike have reaped acupuncture’s benefits. In this blog post I want to highlight some of the conditions for which acupuncture is most helpful.
Health Benefit of Acupuncture #1: Help for Migraine Headaches
Throbbing pain. Nausea. Sensitivity to light. Auras. These symptoms are common manifestations of migraine headaches, and for tens of millions of Americans they are a regular and debilitating occurrence. Many migraine sufferers turn to over-the-counter or prescription painkillers and drugs such as Imitrex to quell symptoms, but new research suggests that acupuncture may provide a safe and effective treatment option.
A review of 22 studies involving more than 4,400 participants clinically diagnosed with migraines showed that acupuncture reduced both symptom intensity and headache frequency. Compared to drugs or placebo treatments, acupuncture was consistently more effective. Benefits were noted in those who received regular treatments as well as those suffering from acute attacks. Another review study revealed that acupuncture benefits tension headache sufferers as well. Forty-seven percent of the 2,317 study subjects who received acupuncture said their number of headaches was reduced by more than half.
Health Benefit of Acupuncture #2: Chronic Pain Relief
The best-studied of acupuncture’s benefits is pain relief. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, an international research team sifted through all of the randomized, controlled clinical trials studying acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain. After pooling the results of the 29 high-quality studies involving nearly 18,000 patients, they concluded that acupuncture produced statistically significant improvements in back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headaches. Acupuncture reduced pain by an average of 50 percent.
Exactly why acupuncture benefits chronic pain isn’t clear. The Eastern medicine explanation is that by stimulating specific acupuncture points, it correct imbalances and restores qi (pronounced “chee”), the flow of energy in the body. Western researchers suggest it may modulate neurotransmitters, hormones, and other chemical messengers. Regardless, every year million of Americans—and many, many more worldwide—seek acupuncture treatments for chronic pain.
Health Benefit of Acupuncture #3: Dry Eyes, Neuropathy, Carpal Tunnel, and More
As evidenced by the studies above, acupuncture benefits a broad range of health challenges. Although it is often dismissed as merely an “alternative” therapy, more recent studies reveal several clinically proven health benefits of acupuncture. Here are three more examples.
Patients suffering from dry eye syndrome who received three acupuncture treatments per week for a month experienced marked improvements in symptoms and increased tear secretion.
In a trial comparing acupuncture to sham (placebo) treatments for diabetic neuropathy, a 15-day course significantly reduced pain, numbness, and rigidity in the lower extremities.
And in a study of people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, longer-lasting improvements and more significant relief was noted after eight acupuncture treatments over four weeks than with steroid treatment.
Acupuncture’s benefits also extend to other health concerns. This therapy is an excellent treatment for urinary incontinence, digestive problems, infertility, addictions, depression, and anxiety.
How You Can Reap the Benefits of Acupuncture
If you’d like to receive acupuncture—or any of the other natural healing therapies we offer at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, please call (866) 632-8890 to schedule an appointment.
To find a practitioner who offers acupuncture near you, visit http://www.nccaom.org.