The Top 5 Benefits of Acupuncture
By Jaimi Jansen
Acupuncture is a holistic approach to wellness that has survived the test of time. With modern technology and advancements in medicine, new discoveries have been made regarding the effectiveness of this ancient form of healing.
While acupuncture remains a unique approach in both diagnostics and treatments, its effectiveness has been relied on in many aspects of modern medicine. Clinical trials have been carried out to test the effectiveness of acupuncture on weight-loss, sleep, stress, and even surgery.
Here are the top five benefits of acupuncture and why to try it:
Chronic Pain Management:
Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins in the body, which act as body’s natural painkillers. Studies have shown that individuals who receive acupuncture treatments experience reduced pain levels. This is especially true for chronic pain, which is characterized by its repetitive episodes and often unlocalized and radiating pain.
Studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture for obesity treatments and weight-loss have been in favor of the practice. A series of randomized controlled trials were performed to assess the effects of acupuncture on body weight reduction, which found that “acupuncture significantly reduced a body weight of 1.56 kg (0.74-2.38 kg), on average, compared to placebo or sham treatments” (Cho, 2009). While much of the science remains to be studied, the treatment seems to be a successful approach to body weight and obesity control.
While the direct ways in which acupuncture helps reduce stress requires further research, the results are undeniable. This is in part due to the reduced pain levels experienced, which has a direct effect on the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. In the long run, constant release of these hormones can result in negative effects throughout the body, including the cardiovascular and reproductive systems. The treatment itself can also be very therapeutic, as treatments are commonly accompanied by soft tissue work, music and aromatherapy, all of which aid in providing a the patient with a stress-free, relaxing environment.
The theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine is that by rebalancing the qi, or flow of energy, the body will reach greater stability and be able to heal itself. In many cases, the cause of disease or emotional instability is due to a blockage in the flow of qi. After an initial examination, an acupuncturist can find the source of this blockage and help release it, therefore correcting the problem.
Acupuncture is commonly recommended for the treatment of insomnia. Apart from its ability to relieve stress, which can impact sleep, research has proven the anti-insomniac properties of acupuncture. Randomized trials of 3,811 patients were carried out in which acupuncture was tested against sham acupuncture, herbal remedies, and medication for sleep. The study found that “acupuncture was superior to medications regarding the number of patients with total sleep duration increased for >3 hours” (Cao, 2009). The study went on to mention that the effects of acupuncture were increased when combined with the use of herbal remedies.
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- Cho, S-H, J-S Lee, L. Thabane, and J. Lee. “Acupuncture for Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Nature News. Nature Publishing Group, 13 Jan. 2009. Web. 05 May 2017.
Cao, Huijuan, Xingfang Pan, Hua Li, and Jianping Liu. “Acupuncture for Treatment of Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Nov. 2009. Web. 05 May 2017. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156618/>.