When it comes to wrinkles, we’re not afraid of turning to the needle for some time-tested Botox. But can needles fix our other age-related problems? Here, Reka Laszlo, ND, a naturopathic doctor at Mount Albert Chiropractic & Wellness in East Gwillimbury, Ontario gives us The Skiny on acupuncture.
Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years in China and has spread rapidly through Western Europe, the United States and Canada in the last century. The art of acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the skin at specific points.
According to Traditional Chinese Medical theory, acupuncture points are located on channels, called meridians, along which a vital energy known as Qi runs through the body. Blockages in these channels and in the flow of Qi are believed to cause pain and other symptoms in the body.
The most common reason people seek out acupuncture is for acute and chronic pain management. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as effective treatment for 28 conditions. As more and more physicians accept and practice acupuncture, a wider range of illnesses and conditions are being considered for acupuncture treatment. Recently the benefits of acupuncture were studied and it can now be scientifically proven that it can improve your health!
Here are some examples of the science-based benefits of acupuncture:
- Acute and chronic pain A study revealed that people treated with acupuncture before and after surgery had a significant reduction in their level of pain and the amount of potent painkillers needed post surgery.
- Increase effectiveness of drugs A study in China found that a low-dose of fluoxetine (Prozac) combined with acupuncture therapy was just as effective at reducing anxiety in patients being treated for depression as full-dose medication. Cutting the dose and adding acupuncture also reduced the drug’s side effects, which can include nausea, weight gain, and a decreased sex drive.
- Tension headaches and migraines A review of 22 studies involving acupuncture therapy, migraines, and tension headaches found that regular acupuncture therapy was effective at preventing tension headaches and migraines from becoming a problem, and that it was an effective treatment for existing headaches.
- Indigestion Brazilian researchers recently published research finding that acupuncture therapy alleviated heartburn and indigestion in pregnant women and reduced their need for medication.
- Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation (nausea, dry mouth) Studies found that patients quality of life improved during cancer treatment with the use of acupuncture.
Acupuncture can be safely and effectively used in a number of conditions as long as it’s performed by a licensed practitioner.
Does it hurt? You won’t have to muster up your bravery to get over your fear of these needles. The experience of acupuncture is minimally invasive and has been described as a pinching feeling as opposed to the painful prick of a medical needle.
Acupuncture may just be the key to helping resolve your nagging health conditions.
One session ranges from $55-$80. Many insurance companies cover acupuncture, check with your insurance provider.
Have you heard of cosmetic acupuncture? Read what one plastic surgeon feels about this new trend, here.