Researchers examined over two dozen studies and determined that acupuncture effectively diminished chronic pain – news the pharmaceutical industry does not want to hear. The studies involved nearly 18,000 patients with back, neck, and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis, or chronic headaches, and showed that acupuncture for pain could be a simple solution.
“Many clinicians consider acupuncture to be merely a potent placebo and feel uncomfortable referring their patients to an acupuncturist,” says Andrew Vickers, a Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center researcher. “But our findings suggest that the effects of acupuncture go over and above the placebo effect.”
Acupuncture for Pain
In their findings, the researchers determined that, on a scale of 0 to 100, most patients arrived at an acupuncture session with pain at about level 60. Patients who received no acupuncture left the session with pain levels at about 43 while those who received “sham” treatments in which the needles were improperly placed left at level 35. Those who received proper acupuncture were at level 30.
The findings were published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine and contest the results of a 2009 study published in the British Medical Journal. The latter dismissed the effects obtained through acupuncture as a placebo effect.
Many other studies, however, back up acupuncture as not only a valid form of medicine and healing but also an affordable one. A Belgian study published in the European Journal of Pain concluded that patients with chronic whiplash-associated disorders experience notable improvements through acupuncture, which activates endogenous analgesia in. And of course there is much more to acupuncture treatment than just acupuncture for pain.
Acupuncture for Exercise Recovery and Depression
Acupuncture may also be helpful for athletes according to an Australian study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Researchers from the University of Western Sydney found that most subjects in their trials who received acupuncture experienced enhanced athletic performance as well as postexercise recovery. Even conditions like depression—commonly believed to be treated only through emotional therapy and harmful antidepressants—may be helped through acupuncture.
This holistic treatment for depression bypasses the medications and opens up a whole new world for those only knowing Western practices.
Acupuncture for Children
Not just for adults, acupuncture for children can also be very effective. Rather than putting them on harmful pain medication, children experiencing migraines, endometriosis, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy can experience natural pain relief through acupuncture—once they get over their fear of needles.
Remember that there is more to acupuncture for pain or any other condition. For more on eastern versus western medicine, check out this infographic comparing the history, methodology, effectiveness, and cost of the two.