Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, and we are still debating its benefits. While some view it as totally separate to modern medicine, others believe that there are reasons the practice has endured for so long. As more and more scientific research is carried out on the effects of acupuncture, we look at some of the benefits it can have on your health.
Headaches and Migraines
A 2009 review of 11 studies involving 2,137 patients found that acupuncture could help reduce the frequency and intensity of pain in patients who suffer from chronic headaches. The research, carried out by the Centre for Complementary Medicine at the University of Munich found that patients who were treated with acupuncture experienced fewer headaches and less pain than those in the control groups.
Chronic pain can manifest in many different ways all over our body. Some of the most commonly affected areas are the lower back, neck/shoulder area and the knees. Chronic pain is also a common symptom of arthritis, something that acupuncture can also help alleviate.
A study conducted in 2012 combined the trials of over 17,000 patients, and found a clear correlation between those receiving acupuncture treatment and those who were not. They concluded that acupuncture is “more than just a placebo effect”.
While acupuncture alone may not help the symptoms of insomnia, using it in conjunction with other remedies can help those dealing with sleeping difficulties. Numerous studies have shown that acupuncture can help people dealing with pain sleep better, but a 1999 study showed it can help those suffering from insomnia, while other studies have also shown its benefits can extend to those suffering from anxiety, and even those living with HIV.
Many of the benefits acupuncture has to offer are indirect. While the practice may not be able to address more serious conditions directly, it has been shown to have beneficial effects during recovery. The National Cancer Institute in the US has said that acupuncture can help patient immunity, platelet, and healthy cell counts, particularly when used after chemotherapy. While this is far from a cure for cancer, acupuncture can aid recovery and improve quality of life.
Anyone familiar with acupuncture will tell you that the benefits are not exclusively physical. While we recommend that anyone dealing with depression should seek counselling, weekly acupuncture sessions have been shown to be just as beneficial as seeing a counsellor after three months. The theory behind this is that the electric current that runs through the needles help regulate your brain’s neuro-transmitters, with one study suggesting that the treatment could be as effective as Prozac.