Acupuncture treatment has many benefits. Some are primary and others are secondary. Overall, acupuncture seeks to improve the balance of energy in your body, which in turn, promotes better health through improved immune function and a reduction of things like stress.
In addition, there are many conditions which science has found acupuncture to be effective in treating. We’ll talk about these in detail a little further down the page.
And of course, people are always concerned about how long the benefits of acupuncture will last, so we talk about that too.
Table of Contents
Health benefits of acupuncture
There are many health benefits associated with acupuncture treatment. Many of these health benefits have been confirmed by research studies.
Poor sleep is associated with a range of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, immune dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease. One of the side-effects of acupuncture is better sleep. Many patients don’t even come to acupuncture for this issue, yet walk away experiencing deeper sleep, fewer instances of waking during the night, and a fully rested feeling upon awakening.
Many patients report that acupuncture improves their mood and helps them to be less affected by daily stressors. Over time, many patients report a feeling of being better able to handle stressful situations.
Improved Digestive Health
Digestive health is directly connected to your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. When you’re in fight or flight mode, you feel stressed out, you can’t sleep, you can’t relax, you can’t eat, and you can’t digest, much less eliminate properly. But acupuncture improves all of that. And because you’re learning how to better handle stress and become less reactive to it, the effects carry over into your bowel health. This is why so many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) experience benefits from acupuncture. Expect to eliminate more frequently and to feel less bloated and less lethargic from your acupuncture treatments.
These days, it seems everyone complains about a lack of energy. Just look at all the coffee shops and energy drinks seeking to fill the need for more energy. Improvements in energy levels may look different for different people. Some people may find themselves feeling more awake. Others may find themselves more aware of life, noticing and connecting with nature more; like the chirping of birds, the blowing of the wind through the trees, or watching the movement of clouds through the sky. Still, others may feel highly motivated, seeking to engage in creative work they’ve put aside for years. However it manifests, improvements in energy are one of the great and surprising benefits of acupuncture!
What conditions can be treated?
Acupuncture promotes the holistic health of the body and restores the body’s balance of energy (called chi or qi). This approach to health and medicine is substantially different from a Western approach. Because of this, acupuncture may be used to treat a wide variety of conditions as well as what’s known as lifestyle diseases.
Cognitive issues like stress, anxiety, and depression are commonly treated using acupuncture with positive results for patients. Digestive issues are also another area where acupuncture has been found to be effective. This may include issues like nausea and vomiting for patients undergoing chemo treatment or those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Pain is another area where acupuncture is often used. Chronic issues such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis , periarthritis of the shoulder, and carpal tunnel syndrome can effectively be treated using acupuncture.
Acupuncture may also be used to treat headaches and migraines, as well as respiratory conditions like sinusitis and asthma. Many women’s issues may also be treated with acupuncture, including infertility.
Conditions that can be treated with acupuncture include:
Addiction. Many people have found acupuncture to be effective in lessening cravings and improving their ability to resist addiction.
Pain. Acupuncture can be used to treat low back pain, neck pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, dental pain, post-operative pain, facial pain, and knee pain.
Chronic conditions. This may include conditions like fibromyalgia, asthma, or IBS.
Depression. Because depression is commonly treated with medications that have side effects and it has a high relapse rate, acupuncture is held in high regard by many doctors as an effective treatment modality for depression.
Infertility. Infertility is commonly treated with acupuncture, which helps in a variety of ways. First, because acupuncture can reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, fertility rates often improve. Other mechanisms for improvement include modulation of the peripheral and central nervous system along with regulation of the body’s hormones as well as the neural signals that regulate those hormones. Acupuncture also increases ovarian blood flow and improves metabolism.
PTSD. Studies have found that PTSD can be effectively treated using acupuncture, along with other issues like stress, anxiety, and depression.
How long do positive effects last?
One of the biggest complaints among patients who utilize acupuncture is the duration of acupuncture's effects. Depending on your condition, your results will vary. For example, if you go to acupuncture for infertility, you may be happy at how long the positive effects last when you have your first child.
All jokes aside, other conditions such as pain or cognitive conditions like depression or PTSD may be ongoing. In these cases, acupuncture may provide temporary relief from symptoms, but many patients find the effects are short-lived, lasting maybe one to three days before symptoms return, In these cases, having acupuncture treatments twice a week can really help to keep your symptoms at bay and create long-lasting effects. However, keep in mind that with these types of conditions, if you stop your acupuncture treatments, your symptoms will return.
Something else to consider is the secondary benefits of your acupuncture treatments. This includes getting better sleep, having more energy, processing emotions, and feeling less stressed out overall.
Surprising benefits of acupuncture!
Now perhaps you’re ready for some of the more surprising benefits of acupuncture. These include:
Reduced nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
Used in dentist offices as an alternative to pain medication.
Used by midwives to help induce labor and/or ease the pain of labor.
Used to reduce the recovery time in stroke survivors.
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Huang, DM, et al. “Acupuncture for Infertility: Is It an Effective Therapy?” Chin J Integr Med., vol.17, no. 5, 25 May 2011, pp. 386–395., www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21611904 .
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Sniezek, David P., and Imran J. Siddiqui. “Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review.” Med Acupunct., June 2013, pp. 164–172., www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689180/ .
Sze FK, Wong E, Or KK, Lau J, Woo J. Does acupuncture improve motor recovery after stroke?: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Stroke 2002; 33:2604-2619. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12411650 .