Acupuncture involves the use of needles at specific points on the body. It is a practice that dates back thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed to stimulate qi, the life force that helps keep us healthy.
Many family physicians are open to “alternative” therapies, but most do not have training in medical acupuncture. In May, researchers published an update of a meta-analysis using individual patient data.
Acupuncture for Pain Management
Many patients seeking alternative treatments like acupuncture seek effective pain relief without the side effects associated with traditional pain relief medications, such as gastrointestinal problems and dependency/addiction.
Acupuncture has been widely recognized as a constructive therapy that can help alleviate various chronic health conditions. Research has shown that acupuncture significantly improves the quality of life, including physical functioning and emotional well-being, for a variety of conditions, including chronic musculoskeletal pain (e.g., neck pain, osteoarthritis) and headaches.
Clear evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating a variety of pain conditions comes from high-quality source types, such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and individual patient data meta-analyses.
In these studies, it was discovered that acupuncture provided longer-lasting pain relief than sham or no acupuncture treatments did for a variety of pain disorders. Acupuncturists like Dr. Ming are thus able to receive patients with confidence from family doctors who are comfortable sending them to them.
Acupuncture for Stress Management
Acupuncture activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes rest and digestion and counteracts the “fight-or-flight” response associated with stress. With its ability to lower cortisol – a hormone linked to stress – acupuncture is an effective way to manage stress and promote relaxation.
It increases endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood boosters. These chemicals boost your mood and reduce anxiety, anger, and stress.
It regulates the nervous system to alleviate symptoms of stress, such as achy muscles and headaches. Excess cortisol, a stress hormone, is reduced. Acupuncture can also help you sleep better. It is a drug-free alternative to popular over-the-counter and prescription medications.
It provides rapid relief from stress-related conditions and enables you to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Medications may have unpleasant side effects, while acupuncture is entirely safe.
Combining acupuncture with other stress management techniques, like regular exercise and meditation, can significantly enhance its effectiveness in reducing stress levels. That is because acupuncture addresses the root causes of stress rather than just masking symptoms.
Acupuncture for Pain Relief
Research has found that acupuncture is effective for many chronic pain conditions, including back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, headache, and shoulder pain. In one study, patients who received real acupuncture reported significantly less pain than those who got sham or no treatment at all.
New York accupuncture involves inserting solid, sterile needles into specific points on the body. The needles are stimulated using various techniques, including manual stimulation (twisting and turning the needles), electrical stimulation, or heat application to the points.
Acupuncture is safe for most people when performed by a trained practitioner. Complications from acupuncture are rare but can include infection and injury to internal organs or the spinal cord due to poor technique.
It is also important to tell your acupuncturist about any health conditions or medications you take. You should avoid acupuncture if you have a bleeding disorder or low blood counts. You should also let your practitioner know if you have a pacemaker.
Acupuncture for Pain Prevention
Acupuncture is a safe treatment with no severe side effects when performed by an acupuncturist trained in medical acupuncture. Family physicians should be aware of local professionals who offer acupuncture so they can make a referral when appropriate.
High-quality research, including a recent individual patient data meta-analysis and a systematic review, has produced robust evidence that acupuncture is effective for pain conditions. In these trials, acupuncture was found to be superior to sham acupuncture and control treatments for back/neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headaches.
Acupuncture may improve pain by stimulating a physiologic response, such as an increase in blood flow at the point of needle insertion or by changing levels of the immune system. This biomarker is a marker for inflammation and has been linked to chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and chronic musculoskeletal disorders.