What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a practice rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and has been utilized for generations. Acupuncture is administered by the insertion of thin, acupuncture needles at specific acupuncture points on the body. Through stimulation of blood flow by needle insertion, it helps regulate the body’s ability to heal.
Acupuncture is now receiving the recognition it deserves from leading health organizations. The Mayo Clinic, World Health Organization, and National Institutes of Health are among those that validate the effectiveness of acupuncture for a broad range of health issues and recommend its use alongside conventional medical practices. The Joint Commission, which is the largest accrediting healthcare body in the US, now lists acupuncture as a standard non-pharmaceutical treatment for pain and mental conditions.
How can acupuncture help you?
Most patients use acupuncture sessions to treat pain. This could be chronic or acute pain and the result of a variety of injuries. Common conditions include migraines, back pain, neuropathy, arthritis, neuralgia, tendonitis, sciatica, and others.
Recent research has found that acupuncture can do more than relieve pain. It is successfully being used in medically undiagnosed mood and stress-related conditions. Veterans Affairs has used it to treat post-traumatic stress disorder patients and those suffering from anxiety.
The Mayo Clinic found that acupuncture improved fatigue, anxiety, and other side effects in fibromyalgia patients. Nausea, malaise, and mood are all positively affected by acupuncture treatment.
We know acupuncture works. For many patients, it offers effective pain management, treats chronic pain issues, and helps people feel better when other methods are not providing relief.
So what’s next for acupuncture? Modern research technology and medical imaging are giving us a better idea of its benefits. Physicians can now pinpoint activities and changes in a patient’s brain and body related to acupuncture therapy. This will greatly improve the effectiveness of acupuncture applications.
Acupuncture and its benefits beyond physical pain relief
More and more, acupuncture therapy is proving beneficial for mental health, treatment of depression, anxiety and even PMS and menstrual cramps. The Harvard Medical School and the Advanced Integrative Rehabilitation and Pain Center found evidence that supports the use of acupuncture in cases of prenatal depression. Other research has shown improvement in the quality of life and enhancement of antidepressant treatment for patients receiving medical care.
A new way to combat the opioid epidemic
As the US grapples with a growing number of opioid-addicted users, members of the medical community are searching for ways to treat pain without addictive pills. Instead of using potentially harmful drugs to cope with pain, acupuncture has emerged as a way to treat problems safely. The American College of Physicians is recommending acupuncture as a non-drug therapy to be used in chronic and acute back pain treatment, before using traditional drugs.
You want to try acupuncture. Now what?
The first step is knowing your condition and making the determination if acupuncture is an effective treatment for you. Your physician can make a diagnosis and give medical advice if acupuncture is a good option for you. If you want to pursue acupuncture therapy, make sure your practitioner is licensed by your state and holds board certification from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
As acupuncture becomes more widely known and recommended, it is now commonly administered by the medical community. Two-thirds of military hospitals and other treatment facilities are now offering it.
Some insurance companies now include acupuncture in their coverage. Bluecross Blueshield of Tennessee no longer covers prescription Oxycontin (a powerful and addictive painkiller) and will now cover acupuncture as an alternative to opioids. State Medicaid programs in California, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Massachusetts all cover acupuncture treatment for pain. Oregon and Massachusetts both cover it as a treatment for substance abuse.
The results of acupuncture therapy are evident and transformative. Whether you suffer from chronic pain, acute pain, or anxiety, it can be an effective treatment for you. Give us a call to set up a consultation, or explore our website to learn more. Check out our blog for information on specific topics in acupuncture and to keep up with what’s going on in our office!