Acupuncture: 5 science-based benefits

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#1: Eases your aching back. Acupuncturists say that chronic back pain relief is the top reason why people visit their clinics. Well documented in scientific literature, a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people given “simulated acupuncture,” where pressure was placed on acupuncture points but without needles, found 15% greater improvement in their symptoms than in those under standard chiropractic care and taking medications. Surprisingly, this is equivalent to improvements in those who were receiving true acupuncture.


#2: Boosts the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. In China, a study that was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, discovered that a low-dose of fluoxetine (Prozac) paired with acupuncture was equally effective in reducing anxiety in patients as those using the full dose. Decreasing the dose and adding acupuncture also reduced side effects of the drug including weight gain, nausea and a decreased sex drive.


#3: Soothes the burning in your stomach. Researchers in Brazil found that acupuncture alleviated indigestion and heartburn in pregnant women. In the study, one group of pregnant women was given a combination of medications and acupuncture, while the other was counseled on making changes in their diet with medications if needed. The study showed that 74% of the women who underwent acupuncture had a decline in heartburn intensity and antacid use, while only 44% of women in the standard-treatment group experienced the same effects.


#4: Counteracts the effects of radiation. Acupuncture therapy has been found to improve the perception of how bad radiation treatment can be, particularly dry mouth and nausea, common in patients receiving treatment to the head and neck. According to studies published CA, a journal of the American Cancer Society, patients perceived fewer negative side effects of radiation even if the side effects were there. In example, some parents who wore acupressure bands during treatment said they felt less nauseated, despite having the same occurrences of vomiting as they did before wearing the band. Another study showed people who believed they had less dry mouth issues, even though measures of their saliva showed they were the same. Though acupuncture didn’t alleviate the symptoms, it did improve the patients’ quality of life post-treatment.


#5: Dulls persistent headaches. A review of 22 studies revolving around acupuncture therapy, tension headaches, and migraines discovered that regular acupuncture was effective in treating existing headaches, and helped to prevent tension headaches and migraines from becoming an issue, a