Acupuncture is an old Chinese tradition adopted by many nations around the world today, and it involves inserting fine needles into specific parts of someone’s body. They believe that it helps to rebalance energy, allowing the person undergoing this treatment to heal from all sorts of medical problems in a more natural way.
When alternative medicines were popularized in Western countries, people were understandably skeptical. Research has proved, however, that there is a scientific explanation to acupuncture. In fact, research has allowed us to understand more completely its pain relieving properties, which have been used to treat a number of different conditions. The ones mentioned below are just a few of the commonly sought health benefits of the acupuncture technique.
Prevents Nausea And Vomiting
When acupuncture needles are applied to a pressure point on the underside of the forearm, near the wrist, it can prevent nausea and vomiting. This effect was investigated in a 2009 study, where it was argued that acupuncture is an effective and safer alternative to antiemetic drugs in preventing nausea and vomiting after surgery. And some other studies found that acupuncture was an effective complementary therapy for the prevention of nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy.
Reduces Insomnia Frequency
As well as leaving us lethargic, a lack of sleep can also lead to lots of unwanted physical and psychological symptoms which may negatively impact one’s life, including nausea, headaches and heightened anxiety. Insomnia can also reduce your life expectancy by several years. One study, however, has found that acupuncture increases the release of the hormone melatonin in the brain, which is responsible for inducing sleep. Over the course of the five-week study, patients who suffered from anxiety and insomnia underwent acupuncture therapy, and the results showed significant improvement in sleep quality and relaxation.
Some of the earliest research into acupuncture after its popularization into Western culture in the 1970s looked into the pain-relieving aspects of the practice. Various studies since have gone on to prove that, in certain cases, acupuncture may be as effective as opioid-based painkillers in relieving pain in patients.
This is good news for up to 40% of the American population who currently suffer from chronic pain, as it offers an alternative, non-pharmaceutical approach to pain relief, which may also provide other health benefits as a bonus.
At the moment, anxiety is extremely medicalized. If you have the condition, you’ll often be prescribed medication, which can have intense side effects, such as nausea, mood swings, and even an increased state of anxiety under some circumstances. Research has shown that this might not be necessary.
Although we don’t know exactly why, clinical trials have shown that acupuncture may help reduce anxiety. In some cases, this involved reducing the dosage of the patient’s medication in conjunction with providing regular acupuncture sessions. Some people in these studies have even been able to come off anti-anxiety medications altogether.
Relieves Migraines and Headaches
One common health benefit of acupuncture is that it can help to relieve migraines and headaches. This specific form of acupuncture involves inserting needles around the face, neck and scalp, and has been used for many generations as an effective way of alleviating both pain and frequency of the events. Some studies have even gone on to prove that patients treated with acupuncture had a higher chance of pain reduction over those who stick with modern medical treatments.
Reduces Allergy Symptoms
If you’re someone who suffers with allergies, your first port of call would probably be to invest in antihistamines or another kind of allergy medications to alleviate your discomfort. What if I told you that you no longer have to deal with taking a pill everyday and could still feel relief from your allergies more naturally?
Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture may help people suffering with seasonal allergies. A 2015 Chinese study found that acupuncture improved quality of life and symptoms in patients with allergic rhinitis, aka hay fever.
So as you can see, some of the claimed benefits of acupuncture have been scientifically backed, and this practice is more than just a traditional myth. Acupuncture may work as a complementary treatment or even as a complete treatment on its own for some health problems.