Acupuncture is a time-tested medical practice. But the only thing most people know about the treatment is that it involves inserting therapeutic needles into the body. That’s enough to make even the toughest patients turn squeamish.
These days a growing number of people In the United States are pushing through their misconceptions about acupuncture to discover a convenient, cost-effective treatment with whole-body benefits.
First practiced in China around 2500 BCE, acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese philosophy that emphasizes a balance in nature and the human body of two opposing forces, yin and yang. Energy, dubbed ‘qi,’ flows through our body to keep these forces in balance, while any blockage of that energy results in the external symptoms we observe as illnesses. Needles are inserted into the body at strategic points to unblock the impediments to ease energy flow and return the body to healthy function.
You don’t have to ascribe to Chinese philosophy to reap the benefits of acupuncture. There are growing endorsements for acupuncture from a number of prominent institutions including the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Yale School of Medicine and the John Hopkins Integrative Medicine & Digestive Center. Once rare in Western settings, acupuncture is becoming a mainstream treatment throughout the United States that any quality whole-health oriented physician would recommend.
Acupuncture has especially proven beneficial for chronic pain management and persistent sleep disorders. In a meta-analysis of nearly 18,000 patients engaged in twenty-nine randomized controlled trials, patients receiving acupuncture could expect on average a 50% reduction in their reported pain. Patients treated with acupuncture versus placebo needle placement also showed objective improvements in their nocturnal brain function that resulted in better sleep for people suffering from insomnia.
Addiction treatment programs also benefit from the inclusion of acupuncture. Many medical detox programs utilize the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association’s (NADA) recommended protocol that places one-time use steel needles at strategic points on patients’ ears to help relieve pain in the detoxification process. A wide evidence base proves the NADA protocol is effective in treating those detoxing from cocaine and opiates as well as prolonged nicotine withdrawal.
NADA recommends that acupuncture be combined with other treatment methods including individual or group therapy and healthy lifestyle choices in order to build the most robust addiction treatment and recovery plan.
Whether you suffer from chronic pain, addiction to opioids, cocaine or nicotine, or you just want a better night’s sleep, acupuncture can help you.
Available in both residential and outpatient settings, acupuncture can support a full, healthy lifestyle in recovery without significant adverse side effects. Check with your insurance provider to see if they’re among a growing number of companies that cover some percentage of acupuncture treatments. See for yourself how a practice honed over thousands of years change your everyday life.