In the News: 5 New Benefits of Acupuncture
Research reveals how acupuncture helps with constipation, dementia and more
The World Health Organization recognizes 28 medical conditions, including allergies, depression, headaches and hypertension, which can be treated effectively using acupuncture.
The thin needles used in the ancient medical practice cause the release of endorphins—the body’s natural painkillers—and increase blood flow, which may boost your body’s immune response.
More than 3 million people in the U.S. have embraced acupuncture as a treatment option for a variety of medical conditions. And researchers and scientists continue to look for ways to use the therapeutic option.
Recent studies show the promise of acupuncture in the treatment of:
Constipation. A study released in September in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that nearly one-third of participants treated with electro-acupuncture in the abdominal wall had improvements with the symptoms of severe constipation. The eight-week protocol used low-voltage electrical currents passed through acupuncture needles placed in the abdominal wall.
Dementia. Researchers in China believe acupuncture may be effective in the treatment of mild cognitive impairment treatment of mild cognitive impairment, a precursor for dementia. The study, released in August, tested the effectiveness of acupuncture as an alternative to or in conjunction with other treatment options.
Participants who received treatments three to five times a week for two months improved test scores on their Mini Mental State Examination, which measures the progression and severity of dementia or other cognitive disorders.
Menopause. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that acupuncture can reduce the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats. associated with menopause by 36.7 percent. Study participants received acupuncture 20 times during a six-month period, and the effects were shown to last for more than a year.
Carpal Tunnel. Electro-acupuncture helps carpal tunnel patients with mild and moderate symptoms when used with splints overnight. The study, released by The Chinese University of Hong Kong in June, tested the use of acupuncture stimulated with low-voltage electrical currents for 30 minutes 13 times over 17 weeks in conjunction with overnight splinting.
Study participants reported less disability and fewer carpal tunnel symptoms, plus more function and dexterity than those who only used the splint overnight for 17 weeks.
Opioid Addiction. The Acupuncture Opioid Task Force, Acupuncture Now Foundation and the American Society of Acupuncturists released a letter earlier this year outlining the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of opioid addiction. Researchers believe acupuncture can stimulate the production of natural opioids in the body that mirror or exceed the benefits of the drugs without the side effects.
Choosing an Acupuncturist
If you’re interested in pursuing acupuncture as a treatment option for a medical issue, make sure you find the right practitioner to help with your unique medical condition. Some acupuncturists specialize in conditions like cancer, fertility and dermatological issues, while others are generalists. Ask for recommendations from family and friends for trusted practitioners or search the web for licensed practitioners in your area.
Your relationship with your acupuncturist may be a long-term one to get the full benefit of the ancient practice.
Learn to be a healer at the Southern California University of Health Sciences. We offer master’s and doctorate degrees in acupuncture in the United States. SCUHS also offers degrees in chiropractic and massage, as well as certificate program in Ayurveda.