Western medicine relies heavily on prescription medication to relieve many ills. With the onset of the opioid crisis, physicians and patients alike are moving to alternatives. Acupuncture, a treatment staple in the Eastern part of the world, is growing in acceptance in the United States as a valid treatment for pain and a number of other health issues.
After the National Institutes of Health published reports about acupuncture’s safety and effectiveness in 1997, acupuncture gained wider acceptance within the medical community. About 3.5 million Americans say they’ve had an acupuncture treatment in the past 12 months.
Acupuncture has been used in China for about 2,500 years to prevent and treat pain and disease, just as antibiotics and pain pills are traditional therapies in Western medicine.
Western medicine provides various theories as to how acupuncture works. Recent studies find that acupuncture increases levels of adenosine, an amino acid, in the area of an injury, which leads to pain relief.
Another explanation is that the needles stimulate your nerves to send messages to your brain that release endorphins. Endorphins are known as the “happy hormones,” because when they’re released, you feel good and feel less pain.
Acupuncture is impressive because it stimulates your body to heal itself without powerful drugs that have negative side effects. You don’t have to rely on pills that only temporarily relieve your pain.
Our licensed acupuncturists here at Evia Medical Center provide the therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for numerous conditions, including digestive issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, and headaches.
Here are a host of conditions that you may not realize acupuncture can help.
If you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, acupuncture may help relieve some of your joint pain. Although it may not work for everyone, some experts find that over half of patients with osteoarthritis gain some benefit from the treatment, and many rheumatoid arthritis patients say acupuncture helps them, too. Preliminary studies indicate acupuncture may lower inflammation markers in the body.
If you have tight muscles around an arthritic joint, acupuncture can relax those muscles and help ease pain. The needles stimulate nerves that cause your body to release endorphins, which help to block some of the pain. Acupuncture can help relieve arthritic pain in many joints, including the shoulders, hips, and knees.
Sports physicians are beginning to use acupuncture to treat sports injuries. Professional athletes and weekend warriors alike suffer from sprains and strains, nerve pain, and general wear and tear on their bodies. The University of Maryland Medical Center finds that acupuncture helps athletes recover without drugs or side effects.
Acupuncture can help relieve the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. If you have upcoming cancer treatment, you may want to try acupuncture to sidestep nausea and vomiting rather than going the medication route. There‘s some evidence that acupuncture helps relieve these symptoms.
Breast cancer treatment often puts women into premature menopause. Peer-reviewed research indicates that acupuncture helps relieve the resulting hot flashes in women with breast cancer. If you don’t have breast cancer, but you suffer from severe hot flashes, it may be worth trying acupuncture to see if it helps.
Some girls and women suffer from extremely painful menstrual cramps, a condition called dysmenorrhea. Limited evidence suggests that acupuncture may help relieve these monthly cramps.
If you’ve had trouble getting pregnant, you may want to try acupuncture treatments. Researchers think that acupuncture might work to increase fertility by increasing blood flow to your uterus.
A five-year study of thousands of smokers found that acupuncture helped people quit smoking. Participants needed multiple treatments for a beneficial effect. If you smoke, but don’t like the idea of a nicotine patch, and you haven’t had success in trying to quit on your own, acupuncture may be the answer you’re looking for.
Chinese medicine routinely uses acupuncture to treat insomnia. Western studies indicate that it improves anxiety and the quality of sleep, in part by increasing the amount of the hormone melatonin, which aids sleep.
Some recent evidence suggests that acupuncture might offer aid for respiratory issues such as obstructive asthma and COPD. Researchers say it’s a promising topic for further study.
Who doesn’t want stress relief? Acupuncture provides a healthy avenue to help you destress without resorting to alcohol or binge eating.
If you’re living with chronic pain or any of the above conditions, it may be time to try Eastern medicine. Call our office or book an appointment online with Evia Medical Center for expert acupuncture treatment today.