At least once a week, I recommend acupuncture to someone, but 9 times out of 10 I am hit with this reaction. "It sounds way too hokey." I answer, explaining the outrageous amount of science behind this ancient practice, and that acupuncture has helped me with knee and back injuries.
I can almost guarantee that most of these people will not end up trying it or leaving after 1 or 2 sessions.
Let us consider four reasons why acupuncture should be on your radar.
Sleep problems are on the rise for many reasons! Research has shown that acupuncture can increase overall sleep time, quality and efficiency, especially when applied to the scalp (1). The research suggests that a targeted approach to scalp acupuncture could work well for those suffering from insomnia.
Within groups experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), acupuncture showed an improvement in pain and depression (2). This study was carried out against a control group of normal PTSD care. The acupuncture group also showed improved mental and physical function.
Acupuncture has also shown that it works favorably against Prozac in the treatment of depression (3). In contrast to pharmaceuticals, you get the added benefits of no side effects from acupuncture treatment.
Last week, we covered how obesity and weight can ruin your immune system and make you susceptible to infection.
The use of acupuncture, combined with exercise and a smart diet, has proved effective and safe (4).
Other studies showed an improvement in Body Mass Index (BMI), body weight and waist circumference. This study used acupuncture therapy against a false acupuncture procedure. It is clear that more research is needed, as obesity is a major crippling factor in the Western world (5).
In animal studies, it has been shown that acupuncture successfully treats morphine addiction, with few side effects (6).
From my personal experience with acupuncture, I know that for 45 minutes or an hour, I am still, focused and balanced. I can't check my email or read that message. I am present with my body, and even in such a short time, my body can do magical things when I get out of its way.
Always work with a professional, and make good decisions.
Simon Brazier. Dip HN, NNCP
1. Zhou Z et al "Scalp penetration acupuncture for insomnia: a randomized controlled trial" Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2010 Feb;8(2):126-30.
2. Engel C et al "Randomized effectiveness trial of a brief course of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder" Med Care. 2014 Dec ;52(12 Suppl 5):S57-64.
3. Xie Y et al "Observation on therapeutic effect of acupuncture at Zhongwan (CV 12) and Si-guan points combined with reinforcing-reducing manipulation of respiration for treatment of depression" Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2009 Jul;29(7):521-4.
4. Lin X et al "Systematic evaluation of therapeutic effect of acupuncture for treatment of simple obesity" Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2009 Oct;29(10):856-60.
5. Zhong Y et al "Acupuncture versus sham acupuncture for simple obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis" Postgrad Med J. 2020 Feb 3. Epub 2020 Feb 3.
6. Lee B et al "Morphine-induced locomotor response and Fos expression in rats are inhibited by acupuncture" Neurol Res. 2010 Feb;32 Suppl 1:107-10.