Acupuncture is a 2500-year-old holistic healing modality with roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), in which trained practitioners insert a fine needle into the skin on specific points on the body, known as meridian acupoints. Proponents of the modality enthusiastically claim that it helps protect against illness, and provides significant pain relieving benefits; especially for stress and chronic pain conditions. We’ve found by incorporating holistic treatments like acupuncture to the 21-Day Clean Program, and a clean lifestyle, we can improve health dramatically.
According to Chinese medicine, the body’s meridian system is a complex map which supplies chi, or qi (vital energy), to every area of the body. When these meridian points are stimulated during acupuncture treatments, the flow of energy (or chi) is modified and regulated, assisting in the distribution of blood and bodily fluids, and helping protect the body against disease and imbalance.
Acupuncture is now one of the most popular practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the West, and the US Department of Health and Human Services states that “ . . . results have emerged showing the efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, and in postoperative dental pain.
There are other situations such as stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis . . . in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment.” Have lots of stress or chronic pain? Check out some great reasons to give acupuncture a try:
- Acupuncture eases chronic pain. A team of international researchers report evidence showing the efficacy of acupuncture in relieving pain in up to 50 percent of all cases studied. And a 2012 study done by Memorial Sloan Kettering Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain, particularly for neck and low back pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain, and chronic headaches.
- Relieve migraines and headaches. Studies show that acupuncture helps reduce migraines and headaches with lasting effects, and is a great way to relieve headache pain without medication. Researchers at the Center for Complementary Medicine reviewed over 11 studies involving 2,137 acupuncture patients, comparing the effects of genuine acupuncture sessions, to “sham” (or placebo) acupuncture sessions, to those receiving no treatment at all. It was found that those who received real acupuncture treatments experienced a reduction in both headache pain intensity, as well as the number of days in pain.
- Reduce stress and depression. As many as 17.5 million Americans suffer from depression and anxiety, but many are seeking alternatives to treatment with prescribed medications. Multiple studies demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating these disorders, including those from the University of York in the UK, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Studies show that both acupuncture and counseling have a significant positive impact on depression and anxiety that often persists months after treatments have ended.
- Overcome insomnia and increase sleep quality. While being poked with needles may not seem like the best route to better sleep, acupuncture increased melatonin production according to a report from 2004. Another study by Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in 2009 showed that acupuncture therapy was more effective in helping patients sleep than taking medication or herbal treatments alone.
- Protect your memory and cognitive function. Studies show that acupuncture is a protective measure against memory loss that precedes dementia, and can also improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In a 2002 study done at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, 20 Parkinson’s patients were treated with 16 acupuncture sessions; 85 percent of patients showed improvements in symptoms such as pain, tremor, and depression and anxiety, and experienced no adverse effects.
While there is no scientific consensus (yet) as to whether acupuncture is entirely effective, research is showing some exciting indicators of its many benefits. Acupuncture is also a wonderful resource in boosting your immunity, as it can invite your immune system to kick into high-gear and fight illness faster. And don’t let a fear of needles sway you, acupuncture is gentle and virtually pain-free (and the needles are super thin). You may experience some achiness at certain acupressure points, but the overall pain-relieving, immunity, and well-being boosting results are definitely worth it.
Written by Carolyn de Lorenzo
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