Research has supported acupuncture as an effective treatment for a number of health conditions in the past, yet it’s not always clear as to whether it would be the best solution to everyone’s needs. So what does research actually tell us about acupuncture and what specific health problems are best alleviated with this traditional method of treatment? Here are six examples of acupuncture benefits stemming from scientific claim…
Improves Effectiveness and Efficiency of Medicines
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that was carried out in China back in 2009 discovered that small doses of a certain pharmaceutical, when accompanied by acupuncture treatment, was just as effective as a full dosage.
The pharmaceutical used in the study was fluoxetine, which is commonly used to treat depression and relieve anxiety symptoms. It was also found that acupuncture reduced the side effects commonly associated with the drug, such as weight gain and nausea.
Reduces Side Effects from Radiation Treatment
Cancer patients who pursue radiation treatment are likely to experience various side effects depending on the area of the body that is being treated. Acupuncture is capable of relieving many of the symptoms experienced as a result of these side effects, including nausea which is a common side effect for those who are being treated in the head and neck area.
However, a study published in a journal from the American Cancer Society showed that a number of cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment weren’t necessarily relieved of their symptoms despite an improved quality of life after the treatment.
One of the studies described the experiences of a cancer patient using an acupressure band. The patient experienced less nausea but still had the same occurrence of vomiting afterwards. Another study focusing on the “dry mouth” side effect of radiation treatment found that patients experienced less discomfort despite similar levels of saliva being recorded.
These studies seem to show that the symptoms weren’t relieved after all. Instead, acupuncture seemed to improve the quality of life of the patients once treatment had come to an end.
Lessens Persistent Headaches
Migraines and tension headaches can be extremely pleasant for those suffering from them on a regular basis. They are one of the most common reasons for people to visit their GP and tend to occur more often in women, although anyone can be affected by migraines and tension headaches.
A review of 22 studies that involved acupuncture and its effectiveness in treating tension headaches and migraines found that acupuncture could prevent headaches becoming a consistent problem. The studies also found that acupuncture worked well treating existing headaches.
Treats an Aching Back
Scientific studies relating to acupuncture have focused much of their time on back pain due to the common affiliation between alleviating
back pain through the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture treatment for chronic back pain has been well documented by scientists as more and more people are visiting clinics seeking acupuncture as a method of treatment.
A study from an issue in Archives of Internal Medicine found that people provided with simulated acupuncture, which involves pressure being exerted onto the afflicted area of the body without the use of needles, resulted in a 15% improvement on symptoms compared to the treatment offered through standard chiropractics.
Helps Fight Obesity
This is an interesting one as it hasn’t been well documented in the past, but Korean researchers claim their findings have enough substance to suggest that acupuncture could become an effective weight loss treatment in the future. 31 studies were analysed and it was found that acupuncture resulted in a greater decrease in body weight compared to lifestyle changes and other forms of medication.
However, the researchers also said that, despite their ambitious efforts to find a proven affiliation between acupuncture and weight loss, numerous flaws in their studies were found making it very difficult to determine whether obesity in the long run could be treated with acupuncture. The findings were published in a 2009 Obesity journal.
The only conclusion we can take from this type of study is that incorporating acupuncture into a weight loss programme wouldn’t cause any harm and may even result in further healthy gains.