You’ve probably seen Kim Kardashian-West’s instagram photo of a bloodied face in the name of beauty or heard about an array of celebrities talking up acupuncture as a natural medicine on television. Unlike many celebrity health endorsements seen today, this one might actually be a method that could yield results in people’s life.
Acupuncture was accepted as a complement to Western medicine in 1997 by the National Institutes of Health, and there is an entire laundry list of health benefits.
Everyone’s body is different and there have been reviews both supporting and denying the effectiveness of acupuncture, but you may still want to at least consider this natural remedy before just falling back onto prescribed drugs next time your body could use a little help.
The first benefit is everyone’s favorite: weight loss.
A study published in Nature in 2009 showed that acupuncture could significantly reduce body weight and improve outcomes of obesity, allowing higher weight loss than drugs or a controlled lifestyle alone. Acupuncture can stimulate certain nerves and muscles in the body and improve energy flow. It also helps to release endorphins, stopping you from craving more food and over-consuming.
Herbal acupuncture combines the traditional use of needles with burning herbs. And, according to a review of animal and clinical trials published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, it is a method has been effectively used to help treat obesity, providing such benefits as anti-inflammation and helping fats metabolize quicker.
Although these results are promising to many struggling with weight loss, it is important to note that acupuncture may not be the answer for everyone. A healthy and sustainable weight loss plan is encouraged no matter what method is used.
- Thomson Reuters
A studydone by the University of Malaya shows that acupuncture could help addicts stay clean. This therapy can be given by manual insertion of needles or electroacupuncture. The two methods are quite similar, but during electroacupuncture, needles are attached to a device generating continuous electric pulses to add extra stimulation. Both types of acupuncture been shown to reduce anxiety following nicotine withdrawal and have been helpful in reducing withdrawal cravings by regulating brain activity. The study also says the procedure could also be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms in heroin and opioid addicts.
- Thomson Reuters
Chemotherapy has an array of side effects, including nausea, weakness, hair loss, and more. A study conducted at Canada’s McMaster University-Juravinski Cancer Centre followed 24 chemotherapy patients for 6 months after treatment. Each was given a modified total neuropathy score (MTNS) throughout the process, and the final results were measured. Acupuncture was shown to be helpful in reducing neuropathy, or peripheral nerve damage. It was also shown to help reduce numbness after going through chemotherapy.
The Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine released a studywith 1,639 participants. It found that, when combined with traditional drugs, acupuncture can significantly increase pain-free durations and provide a shorter onset time of pain relief in patients still undergoing cancer treatment. The study also recommended combining acupuncture with traditional drugs, as this is more productive than using either alone.
Headaches can definitely take a toll on your day. Most people gravitate towards over-the-counter drugs to alleviate their headaches, but acupuncture could be a great alternative. A study published last month studied a group of children (aged 8 to 18) and found that a 15-minute acupuncture treatment has the ability to improve or resolve migraine headaches by increasing blood flow throughout tissues.
In addition to traditional acupuncture, another method has been shown to be successful in reducing migraines: A 2015 studyfound that adding the drug BoNTA to traditional acupuncture for injection played a large role in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks, as well as the duration of an attack and the symptoms associated with it.
Insomnia is a common problem that can lead to a variety of side effects, including reduced immunity, obesity, irritability, depression, and increased risk for high blood pressure and diabetes. Instead of relying on prescribed drugs to help out, acupuncture can be used to help remedy the problem. A study published last month in the Journal of Integrative Medicine found that acupuncture could be an effective and low-cost method to treat insomnia and the complications that surround the disorder. It helps to balance hormones in the body and reduce stress, both factors that can interrupt sleep.
It is reported that 1 in 10 Americans are affected by depression at one point in there life. Pharmaceutical companies run daily commercials promising a new drug that could fix your depression problems. However, a 2013 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which followed 75 Asian patients, found that acupuncture as a treatment could be more efficient than fluoxetine, the common depression medication known as Prozac because it triggers endorphin stimulation in the brain. When comparing treatments of acupuncture to Prozac, the researchers found that acupuncture works faster than the drug to have impacts on alleviating depression.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Prozac can take up to 6 to 8 weeks before seeing improvement in depressed mood. So acupuncture can be used as a way of coping until Prozac becomes noticeable and as an extra supplement once it does work.
While the study’s results are promising, it is worth noting patients suffering depression will not necessarily be able to replace traditional drugs with acupuncture.
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Having a baby can be one of the most rewarding experiences in one’s life. But according to the CDC, around 12% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 years have difficulties getting pregnant or carrying to term. But there is good news from the American Pregnancy Association. They claim that a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicines could improve ovarian and follicular function. The treatment could also increase blood flow to the uterus lining, helping it to become thicker and richer.
Although not often thought of by many as the first step in treating a health problem, acupuncture can provide huge benefits with any bodily disorders that may be occurring. With the almost complete range of symptoms acupuncture can treat, it’s really no wonder all of today’s A-listers are taking to this natural remedy.