Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing developed over more than three thousand years in China and still being used today. The eastern philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine encompasses a holistic and complimentary approach to treating the body. Acupuncture is one of many components of this age-old practice.
Acupuncture restores and maintains health by the gentle insertion of very fine, sterile needles into body’s natural energy points (meridians) just below the surface of the skin. Although it is not unanimously accepted as an effective and trusted method of treatment, the popularity of acupuncture practices has spread across the world. The positive effects of acupuncture are felt almost immediately. Here are the top 5 health benefits of acupuncture treatment:
1. Supports pregnancy and labor: As acupuncture helps reduce stress, balance hormones, and ease anxiety and pain related to pregnancy and labor, it is being recommended by many medical practitioners these days. It helps reduce several common symptoms during pregnancy to reduce the physical and emotional strain on the woman’s body. It may also be used just before the delivery to prepare the woman’s body for labor.
Although considered a safe treatment during pregnancy, there are a few acupuncture points that should be avoided during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to go to an acupuncturist who is properly licensed and knowledgeable enough for best care.
2. Helps prevent cognitive decline: Studies have shown that acupuncture is also effective against Parkinson’s disease. It can relieve age-related cognitive decline symptoms as it generates a neural response in areas of the brain like the putamen and the thalamus, which are particularly affected by Parkinson’s. A study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine showed that twenty Parkinson’s patients, after undergoing 16 sessions of acupuncture, reported subjective improvements in individual symptoms, including tremor, walking, handwriting, pain, slowness, sleep, depression, and anxiety, without any adverse effects.
3. Helps relieve chronic pain: Chronic pain can manifest in many different ways in different parts of the body. Some of the most commonly affected areas are the lower back, neck/shoulder area and the knees. Acupuncture has long been used for alleviating chronic pain in these body parts. According to a recent study in the Archive of Internal Medicine, acupuncture can reduce pain up to 15% when used for a variety of different types of pain, but primarily focused on chronic back pain that may result from physical stress, poor sleeping habits, old injuries that never fully healed, tightness of muscles, or pregnancy. Another study conducted in 2012 combined the trials of over 17,000 patients, and found a clear correlation between those receiving acupuncture treatment and those who were not. They concluded that acupuncture is more than just a ‘placebo effect.’
4. Helps reduce insomnia: While acupuncture alone may not alleviate the symptoms of insomnia, using it in combination with other medications can help those dealing with sleeping difficulties, greatly. Several studies have shown that acupuncture can help people dealing with pain sleep better, while others have shown that its benefits can extend to those suffering from anxiety as well.
5. Reduces heartburn and indigestion: Regular acupuncture therapy has been proven to ease symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. A study demonstrated that those individuals who took regular acupuncture therapy required fewer antacids. Brazilian researchers carried out the test subject and found significant difference between symptoms of pregnant women who used acupuncture, and those who simply watched their diet and took medication, when needed, for heartburn or indigestion.
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