For more than 3,000 years, China has used acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions. Today, 3 million Americans turn to it as a natural remedy. The practice uses very fine, sterile needles to stimulate specific parts of your body, called acupoints. By applying these needles to your skin, your body’s own healing processes are called into action. Other acupuncture techniques include massage, heat therapy, topical herbal remedies and cupping.
Although this technique may seem unusual compared to conventional western medicine, recent research has proven several surprising benefits of acupuncture. Specifically, it is shown to be beneficial to the nervous, endocrine, immune, cardiovascular and digestive systems. By stimulating these parts of your body, acupuncture can help to resolve pain, improve sleep and digestion and increase your overall well-being.
Here are five reasons to give it a try:
Controlling Postoperative Pain
A 2015 study in Pediatric Anesthesia suggests acupuncture significantly reduces pain in children immediately following tonsil removal. Among the 30 children who were studied, many of them reported less discomfort and needed less analgesic medicine following surgery.
A 2014 analysis by the University of Western Sydney indicates that acupuncture may help women who are having trouble conceiving. Although it’s not clear just how acupuncture increases the chances of a successful pregnancy, there is a definite relationship between the two. Therefore, couples who are having this difficulty may want to consider acupuncture as an option.
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Lessening Chronic Pain
Medical professionals have long debated acupuncture’s ability to decrease chronic conditions, such as back pain, migraine headaches and osteoarthritis. However, a review of 29 medical studies by the American Medical Association (AMA) indicates that acupuncture can alleviate certain types of ongoing pain. So instead of taking over-the-counter painkillers for short-term relief, you might consider acupuncture to alleviate various types of chronic pain for a natural and lasting result.
Decreasing Body Fat
Acupuncture, specifically in the ear, has actually been found to help people lose weight. Medical News Today reports a 2013 clinical trial provided patients either a five-point or one-point treatment in the ear. After this treatment, their body mass indices decreased: those who received the five-point treatment saw their body fat fall by 6.1%, whereas those with a one-point treatment saw a 5.7% reduction.
Complementing Cancer Care
Acupuncture can also help curb the nausea, vomiting and white blood cell deficiency resulting from chemotherapy, fatigue and xerostomia after radiation, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In fact, up to a third of cancer patients use acupuncture to offset some of the side-effects of their medical treatment.
The surprising benefits of acupuncture show that even an ancient medicine can help improve today’s most common health concerns.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.