6 Acupuncture Benefits That’ll Make You Book Your First Session

Weight Loss

Ready to try something completely new this year? If you’re looking for a holistic way to boost your health and handle certain health conditions, acupuncture could well be it. The alternative form of treatment has actually been around for thousands of years. There are a great many expert-backed benefits you may want to try, such as using acupuncture for weight loss and anxiety. However, there are also some myths that pervade about the practice too.

So, how can you separate the fact from the fiction? We’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know—from what is acupuncture to whether it will work for you. We’ll also answer the common concerns and questions you may have, such as “Does acupuncture hurt?” So, let’s dive in!

What is Acupuncture and What Does it Do?

Woman with eyes closed receiving acupuncture treatment on her back
Medical acupuncture works by stimulating the sensory nerves within your muscles and beneath your skin.

Before we delve into the acupuncture benefits you need to know about, let’s go over the basics. What is acupuncture? The art of “needle grasp” has been noted in textbooks for more than 2000 years and is a form of traditional Chinese medicine.[1]

The traditional belief surrounding acupuncture is that “qi” (pronounced as “chee”) runs through the body naturally. When it doesn’t run properly through you, it leads to illnesses and medical problems. The main core of the belief system is that, through using acupuncture, a practitioner can help to restore your qi and health.[2]

It is now used in Western culture as a form of either holistic or alternative medicine, which can be applied to a whole range of different illnesses and ailments. In some cases, it can also be used for preventative purposes. Medical acupuncture works by stimulating the sensory nerves within your muscles and beneath your skin.[3] The body then releases endorphins, which naturally help to ease pain and support wellness.

The Acupuncture Process

Acupuncture needles on a round spa stone on a wooden table

Of course, you’re going to want to know what you’re getting yourself in for. The modern-day acupuncture process is nothing to fear and could yield some remarkable results. Before you undergo any course of treatment, you should first consult with a medical professional. They will be able to give you the support and guidance you need here.

You will also need to complete a survey providing information on your individual health history. You may have to answer questions relating to your lifestyle, diet, sleep, and stress levels. All of the above information will help the practitioner determine what the best course of treatment is for both you and your circumstances.

During the acupuncture treatment, you will have to lie or sit down. A specialist practitioner will insert pre-sterilized needles into different places in your body. These places are not random—they are known as “acupuncture points.” You might have to take off some of your clothes so that the practitioner can access different areas of your body.

It’s worth noting that the needless themselves are extremely fine and only around an inch long. They will only be used once and then the practitioner will dispose of them afterward. Depending on the type of acupuncture treatment you have, the practitioner may insert the needles into the surface tissue of your skin or deeper into the muscles. After all of the needles are in place, it’s time to wait! Usually, the practitioner will leave them there for around 20-30 minutes. The time period will be discussed before you start.

What Science Says About Using Acupuncture For Weight Loss & Fertility

If you’re considering acupuncture, you may have heard many claims about what it can do. Two of the most commonly claimed acupuncture benefits are improved weight loss and fertility. So, is there any truth to these claims? And can a course of acupuncture really help you get into shape while boosting your fertility levels? Let’s take a look at the facts.

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Woman getting acupuncture treatment
Acupuncture may cause the body to release endorphins which are known as “feel good” hormones.

Looking to slim down and get into shape? It’s important to realize that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss. If you wish to slim down, eating well and exercising regularly are the two best ways to achieve your goal. However, accompanying these lifestyle changes with a course of acupuncture for weight loss might be one way to go.

While there is little research in this area, one review of clinical trials suggests that acupuncture could be an effective treatment for obesity.[4] Despite this result, the researchers noted that the evidence is not “fully convincing” thanks to the poor methodology of the trials they reviewed. The fact of the matter is that the jury’s still out when it comes to acupuncture for weight loss.

Acupuncture for Fertility

Woman with acupuncture needles in her forehead

When you’re looking to start a family, it should be a truly exciting and enthralling time. However, for some couples, fertility problems overshadow this entire period. Around 10% of American women aged between 15 and 44 have trouble either getting or staying pregnant.[5] Of course, if you’re struggling to have a child, you might look to alternative treatment types of help you along the way. It’s only natural to want to seek out other options during this trying.

However, if you’re hoping to get acupuncture for fertility, you might want to rethink that idea. As yet, there is no evidence to suggest that an increase in fertility is one of the acupuncture benefits. In fact, research from Western Sydney University found that acupuncture was “ineffective” in increasing IVF birth rates.[6] When you’re having fertility problems, speak to your doctor for advice and support.

6 Other Surprising Acupuncture Benefits

Wondering what other acupuncture benefits there are? They might surprise you! This traditional therapy can have a wide range of advantages. Let’s take a look at some of the science-backed reasons that you might want to try it for yourself.

1. Can combat anxiety

Woman getting acupuncture treatment in her forehead

Up to 30% of people in the world suffer from some type of anxiety.[7] The common mental problem can affect your day-to-day life in a multitude of ways and symptoms can be both mental and physical. When you’re struggling with this problem, you may not know where to turn or how to get the help that you desperately need. Luckily, one of the most interesting acupuncture benefits could be that it helps to relieve and ease anxious feelings.

Research suggests that trying acupuncture for anxiety could be one of the most effective ways to relieve the symptoms of this condition.[8] The results showed that the positive effects of this treatment were significant when compared to other conventional anxiety treatments.

The physiological reason behind this could be to do with the hormones that the body releases during the acupuncture process. Acupuncture may cause the body to release endorphins which are known as “feel good” hormones.[9] It could be that their effect on the body directly conflicts with anxious feelings and curbs them somewhat. Regardless, if you suffer from anxiety regularly, it could be worth trying a course of acupuncture.

Fact: Anxiety is an extremely common disorder. Up to 30% of the world’s population suffers from some form of this problem![10]

2. Helps ease back pain

Acupuncture needles being placed in the back of a woman's neck and shoulders

Back pain can be excruciating, at the best of times. Should you struggle with ongoing bouts of pain, your top priority is sure to be getting some relief. Trying a session or course of acupuncture for back pain is one method you should give a whirl.

One report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at a variety of treatment options for lower back pain.[11] The results showed that acupuncture for back pain was quite an effective form of treatment. Participants stated that they had decreased back pain as a direct result of the alternative form of therapy.

However, it’s worth mentioning that the long-term results were not entirely clear. With that in mind, more evidence is needed to determine whether acupuncture for back pain is the best form of treatment.

3. May help to induce labor

Close up of a practitioner placing acupuncture needles in a body

Did you know that overdue pregnancies are not as uncommon as you may think? In fact, around 5% of births come after their due date, which can be frustrating for the mother.[12] If your labor is late, you may want to look into ways in which you can induce it. When you are substantially your expected labor date, you may find that your doctor medically induces labor. Before that happens, it’s worth considering ways in which you could holistically move things along.

Many people believe that you can use acupuncture to induce labor. This alternative form of therapy has been used for this purpose for many years, but does it really work? While there isn’t a wealth of research in this area, one clinical study suggests that it could be one way to help speed things up.[13] The trial found some evidence showing that acupuncture resulted in cervical ripening, which is essential for labor induction. That could mean that using acupuncture to induce labor is a viable option, however, more evidence is still needed.

4. Could curb your acne

Practitioner with gloves placing acupuncture needles in a woman

Contrary to popular belief, acne does not merely affect teenagers. Between 40 and 50 million American suffer from this complaint.[14] In fact, it is actually the most common skin condition in the United States.[15] Not only can acne be embarrassing and make you feel uncomfortable socially, but it can also be painful. If you suffer from acne, clearing your skin once and for all is certain to be on your to-do list!

Luckily, there’s some striking evidence to suggest that acupuncture for acne may work. Research published in the Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research (IJIR) found that one of the major acupuncture benefits is that it can help to treat acne.[16] The experts also noted that this form of treatment could help to improve people’s overall quality of life.

Fact: Did you know that between 40 and 50 million Americans suffer from acne? Plus, it’s the most common skin condition in the country![17]

5. Helps people quit smoking

Woman with acupuncture needles in her forehead resting on the treatment table

Around 14% of the US population are smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[18] This recreational habit has been linked to a whole variety of considerable health conditions, including cancer, heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and bronchitis.[19] Pregnant women should also be aware that smoking can lead to premature births or even, in serious cases, miscarriage.[20] With that in mind, quitting is crucial.

However, giving up is no easy feat. Not by a long shot. While there are many different ways in which you can support this process, there’s no guarantee that it will be plain sailing. Using acupuncture to quit smoking could be a smart way to go. One study suggests that acupuncture may help keep smokers motivated when reducing the amount that they smoke.[21] The results suggested that the treatment may reduce smokers’ desire and taste for tobacco, which could help them quit. 

Before you book an appointment, though, there’s one thing you should know. It could be worth in seeing an acupuncture practitioner who is experienced in helping people quit smoking. The researchers noted that different acupuncture points had different effects on participants.[22] With that in mind, you should ensure that the acupuncturist you choose understands the appropriate technique for this particular treatment.

6. Could stop regular migraines

Close up of acupuncture needles in the back of a patient

There’s nothing quite like the throbbing agony of a migraine. These moderate-to-severe headaches can seriously hinder people’s day-to-day lives. Plus, they are often accompanied by other unpleasant side effects, including nausea and a sensitivity to both light and sound. The medical problem affects around 25% of women but only one in every 15 men.[23] So, how can you get migraine relief and can acupuncture help?

One report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews looked at previous trials concerning acupuncture for migraines.[24] The results suggested that treating these episodes with acupuncture could be a way in which to reduce their frequency. It could be worth talking to your doctor before you decide to undergo treatment.

Does Acupuncture Hurt? Side Effects to Keep in Mind

Woman with acupuncture needles in her back smiling

Now that we’ve covered the acupuncture benefits, there’s one thing that you’re sure to want to know. Does acupuncture hurt? You should not experience serious pain when you’re undergoing acupuncture treatment. You may find that you feel a dull ache or tingling sensation when the needles are inserted into your body.[25]

Of course, it should go without saying that if you experience pain, you will need to let your practitioner know sooner rather than later. After the acupuncture treatment is over, you may find that you experience some minor side effects, according to the NHS, including:[26]

  • Sickness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Bruising or bleeding

In extreme cases or when acupuncture is not carried out properly, there could be some more dangerous acupuncture side effects. Information published in the Scientific Reports journal suggests that these effects could include nerve or blood vessel damage, complications from needle breakage, infections, bleeding, damage to the spinal cord, punctured organs, tissue damage, and even death.[27]

Should you have any existing medical issues, it’s worth consulting about whether acupuncture is the right course of treatment for you. For instance, if you’re currently taking blood-thinning medication or suffer from a condition such as hemophilia, which stops your blood from clotting, having acupuncture treatment could prove dangerous. 

As a precautionary step, before you undergo any form of treatment, you should make sure that your practitioner has the proper certification and is medically trained. Check that they have a qualification, such as one from The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture, before booking a session.[28] Needless to say, acupuncture is a specialist treatment, which is why you need to ensure that the practitioner is fully trained within the area and ready to assist you.

FAQ on Acupuncture

Acupuncture needles stuck in a figurine with meridians painted out

By now, you should be entirely aware of the acupuncture benefits and any potential drawbacks. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look some frequently asked questions you may have on your mind. Thankfully, we have the answers you need right here. 

How much does it cost?

Ready to reap the acupuncture benefits for yourself? If so, you will need to consider the cost of this form of treatment. While the cost of acupuncture may vary depending on what type of clinic you choose, the national average is $70-$90 per session, according to Thumbtack.[29] Of course, you may be able to get special offers and deals when you commit to having several sessions of acupuncture as your treatment.

Does Medicare cover acupuncture?

If you believe that acupuncture could help you with a medical condition or otherwise improving your life, you likely have one question on your mind. Does Medicare cover acupuncture? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no. Right now, Medicare plans do not cover any forms of acupuncture therapy.[30] That means that you will need to pay 100% of the fee for this type of service.

How many sessions will you need?

The number of sessions you need will depend largely on what you’re hoping to achieve. After your initial consultation with a practitioner, they will be able to advise you on what the best course of action is. What’s more, when you have completed your course, you may also want to have top-up sessions afterward.

6 Acupuncture Benefits That'll Make You Book Your First Session

Conclusion

The benefits of acupuncture are not all hearsay and myths! As you have learned from our guide, there really are many remarkable acupuncture benefits you can reap. Whether you suffer from regular migraines or simply want to quit smoking, signing yourself up for an appointment is a nifty idea. Now that you’ve got the down-low on the treatment, what are you waiting for?

References

Related Posts

Menu