10 Conditions That Can Be Addressed with Acupuncture

By Bailey Harris on May 25, 2011

Acupuncture is a therapy that originated in China and is done by inserting fine solid needles in selected places on the body. The needles are said to be put on points called meridians which are spots on the body where channels of energy flow. The idea behind acupuncture is that conditions and diseases come from imbalances in energy flow called Qi. Here are 10 of the many conditions that can be addressed with acupuncture.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are a very common condition and are known to occur among all types of people. The good news is that acupuncture can usually help. Tension headaches are caused by many different things, but acupuncture can help to reduce their recurrence as well as the severity of the pain. In a recent review published by the Cochrane Collaboration, researchers analyzed 11 randomized trials with 2,317 participants and found that acupuncture could be a valuable option for people who have frequent tension headaches.

Lower Back Pain

Many people use acupuncture to address and relieve lower back pain. According to a recent review published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, research participants saw a reduction in chronic lower back pain intensity immediately after acupuncture sessions. Typically lower back pain will come from an underlying deficiency in a person’s kidneys or stuck energy in the lower back. Depending on the acupuncturist’s diagnosis of what the lower back pain is coming from, they will use acupuncture to move or alter the energy that is causing the pain.

Knee Pain

Knee pain is another well known condition that could be relieved by acupuncture. Knees are the key to much of a person’s leg movement. Acupuncture is most known to help with arthritic knee conditions, but can usually help with pain in any circumstance. A landmark study funded in part by NCCAM and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that study participants with osteoarthritis of the knee showed a significant increase in function after eight weeks of acupuncture and a significant decrease in pain after 14 weeks of acupuncture. After 26 weeks, participants had a 40 percent decrease in pain and a nearly 40 percent improvement in function.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, which is inflammation of the tendons and muscles in the forearm, may improve with acupuncture. Like many other conditions, acupuncture relieves tennis elbow by moving energy among the body. Tennis elbow is one of the few conditions that have been known to completely vanish after an acupuncture session. In a controlled study involving patients from a North of England general practice, all but one patient saw improvement after two acupuncture sessions when the acupuncture was combined with a small dose of corticosteroid with lignocaine.

Sprains

Acupuncture is often used to address chronic pain, but it can also help with temporary problems such as sprains. According to NCCAM-supported researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Logan College of Chiropractic, and Kyunghee University (Korea), acupuncture changes resting-state brain activity in ways that may account for its analgesic and other therapeutic effects. An acupuncture session can increase connections among the parts of the brain involved in the perception and memory of pain, which leads to a decrease in pain and an improvement in function.

Dental Pain

When the pain is in the mouth, doctors will use very thin needles in points of the face, neck, back, and stomach. These light pokes stimulate the nerves that sense pain thus creating hormones. Acupuncture in this case forces the body to create pain relieving endorphins. Acupuncture for dental purposes is known to be relaxing and is becoming more popular among patients. Researchers at the Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine at the University of Maryland at Baltimore evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in relieving postoperative oral surgery pain. They found that participants who underwent acupuncture sessions were pain-free longer after surgery. These participants also consumed less pain medicine than the control group.

Stroke

Acupuncture is said to help with stroke rehab, though it is not guaranteed. Not enough studies have been done to prove that acupuncture works for stroke rehab when it comes to the technicalities of medicine, but according to some it is certain that sessions can help with the return of motor skills after a stroke.

Depression

Depression is known to be reduced by acupuncture through a complete energy sense. When an acupuncturist sees a patient for depression, they often use needles in several points of the body to reduce tension and stress. The body’s energy balances neurotransmitters in the brain and creates a sense of well being, thus relieving depression and anxiety. An Italian study involving 50 patients, found that acupuncture to the ear was found to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression levels. Another study conducted by Wayne County General Hospital in Michigan involved 85 patients suffering from psychological disorders, including depression. Nearly 80 percent of these patients saw improvement with acupuncture.

Nausea

When it comes to nausea, acupuncture is sure to help. When the P6 acupoint on the wrist is stimulated, the feeling of nausea can disappear and reduce the chance of vomiting. A review of multiple studies published by The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the National Library of Medicine, found that there were significant reductions in the risks of nausea and vomiting following surgery and anesthesia. The need for rescue antiemetics was also reduced.

Morning Sickness

Acupuncture is said to help women with morning sickness in almost all cases. The process works in a different way to relieve this condition than it does when relieving pain. Acupuncture works for morning sickness by regulating balance in a part of the brain causing the sick feeling to go away. Acupuncture also regulates the function of the Vargus nerve. This nerve controls the main organ functions which allow the stomach to increase muscle contractions. The contractions push the contents down.

About the author:

This article is written by Bailey Harris. Bailey is a proponent of alternative healing methods. She enjoys growing her own herbs and creating her own herbal remedies.

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