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A Look at Acupuncture

Along with the latest in modern western medicine, Prime Meridian Healthcare offers a comprehensive list of complementary therapies that you can integrate into your care plan as non-invasive ways to promote healing and holistic health.

Even if you have trypanophobia, acupuncture may be a simple and convenient way to address some of your current health issues, and maybe even cure you of that fear of needles.

What is Acupuncture?

According to research, acupuncture is one of the fastest growing forms of alternative medicine with nearly more than 10 million treatments taking place in the U.S. every year (1). This rise in popularity in the west can be attributed to the growing body of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of this traditional Chinese medical practice. Although there is no consensus regarding the origins of acupuncture, it is one of the oldest practices in all of eastern medicine, with historical records dating back to at least 100 BC (2)

Though techniques vary, acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific points throughout the body based upon the idea that specific pathways (meridians) in the body influence physiological functions such as nervous system activity. In general the needles are left in for between 10 and 20 minutes, but in some forms the needles may be left in for days or even weeks. The size of the needles and their insertion points are dependent on the desired effect, and may be used in conjunction with heat, light, or physical pressure. Traditionally acupuncture is used as treatment for a wide range of health issues, but in western medicine, it is primarily used as a component of treatment plans to address pain.

What Can Acupuncture Do For Me?

Acupuncture is a complementary therapy that has a wide spectrum of benefits to help you deal with the physical and psychological stressors of everyday life. Acupuncture is generally associated with relief from various types of pain, and there is much contemporary research to back up its history of use.

HEADACHE RELIEF

One of the oldest known and scientifically-validated uses for acupuncture is in the treatment of headaches. In a randomized clinical trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine, participants who suffered from regular migraines experienced less recurrence and less acute pain when receiving acupuncture (4).

REDUCE PAIN AND TENSION IN BACK, NECK, AND JOINTS

Sitting at a keyboard all day, looking down at your smartphone, lugging a heavy backpack—you probably spend much of your day doing activities that promote bad posture and chronic pain. Acupuncture offers a non-invasive and drug-free alternative to dealing with the acute and chronic pains of daily life. A systematic review of the current research suggests that acupuncture is associated with a greater immediate pain relief effect compared to placebos (3).

DECREASE STRESS AND ANXIETY

Anxiety disorders represent more than half of psychiatric disorders, which are a major cause of disability worldwide (6). A review of clinical research found that there is a high level of evidence that acupuncture is associated with improved outcomes in treatment of anxiety and depression, especially in individuals in high-stress situations such as pregnancy (7).

IMPROVE SLEEP

Sleep quantity and quality is one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle. Clinical research has shown that acupuncture may be effective for improving metrics of sleep quality in individuals suffering from sleep deprivation, in isolation or when combined with medication (5).

Battlefield Acupuncture

All Prime Meridian Healthcare practitioners are trained and certified in battlefield acupuncture, a specific form of acupuncture. First developed by army physician Dr. Richard Niemtzow, battlefield acupuncture received its name because it is most efficacious in situations when use of medication may not be advisable or possible (such as in battle). Battlefield acupuncture utilizes tiny needles that are stuck into specific zones in the ear and left in for several days. While researchers still need to look into its mechanisms and the long-term impacts, there is strong clinical evidence that battlefield acupuncture is effective for immediate pain reduction (8, 9). Current research is investigating the use of battlefield acupuncture as a tool to reduce the use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain (8).

Acupuncture is just one of the many complementary practices offered by the providers at Prime Meridian Healthcare. If you are suffering from nerve-related pain, having sleeping issues, or difficulties with stress, contact your trusted provider at Prime Meridian Healthcare to discuss how a non-invasive and drug-free practice such as acupuncture may be integrated into your care plan.

References

1

Acupuncture: Past, Present, Future

Hao J. and Mittelman M.

4

Effect of Acupuncture on Migraine

Zhao L., et al.

7

Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression

Sniezek D. and Siddiqui I.

2

A History of Medicine, Volume 2

Prioreschi P.

5

Acupuncture for Treatment of Insomnia

Cao H., et al.

8

Battlefield Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

Montgomery A. and Ottenbacher R.

3

Effect of Acupuncture for Pain

Xiang A., et al.

6

Epidemiology of Anxiety Disorders

Lepine J.

9

Battlefield Acupuncture: Method for Easing Pain

Levy C., et al.