Acupuncture treats "pins and needles." Here's how:Read More
Another reason to keep the ginger coming: Studies show ginger to be an effective pain reliever for sore muscles caused by exercise. Both raw ginger and dried supplements showed "moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain." More commonly recommended for upset stomach, ginger is a proven anti-inflammatory.
A study funded by the Army and the National Institutes of Health helps explain how acupuncture eases chronic pain. Using brain imaging, the study showed that acupuncture increases the availability of receptors in the brain that process and weaken pain signals. Moreover, acupuncture treatments – in this case twice a week for four weeks – affect both the brain’s short- and long-term ability to reduce pain sensation. A beneficial implication of this research – published in 2009 by the University of Michigan Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center – is that patients treated with acupuncture might be more responsive to pain medications like codeine and Vicodin.
Other studies have shown that acupuncture triggers a variety of physiological responses, such as:
✔ Stimulating the immune system and increasing white blood cells, which defend the body against infection ✔ Decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides ✔ Regulating blood sugar metabolism, which helps the body use energy more efficiently ✔ Increasing blood circulation and producing beneficial changes in blood pressure ✔ Increasing stomach peristaltic activity and regulating digestive fluids, thereby improving digestion ✔ Regulating and stimulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep, appetite, and mood
Curious about acupuncture but just can't seem to schedule that first appointment? AcuTake, an online publication created to improve acupuncture education and access, has written an informative article that lists (and debunks) these top five excuses that some newbies to acupuncture give for avoiding treatment.
Afraid of needles? Think the sessions are too expensive? Can't find the time, don't know who to go to, or don't "believe" in it? Read their article to get the full scoop on why these five excuses just aren't good enough anymore!
Acupuncture is great for pain relief, restful sleep, good digestion, better immunity and more. So go ahead and schedule a session — next thing you know you'll be encouraging your co-workers, friends and family members to jump on the acupuncture bandwagon.
One way to measure if acupuncture really helps people reduce or get rid of their pain is by looking at whether they’ve decreased their purchase and use of prescription or over-the-counter pain medications. In 2007, a research team in Spain looked at the cost/benefit of acupuncture compared to standard medical treatment for various types of pain in 5,690 people.The researchers found that after acupuncture treatment, the average patient saved $9.70 per week on analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs. For patients who suffered from headache, the savings soared to $35.70 per week. The money saved on medication can definitely offset the price of monthly or biweekly acupuncture treatments, depending on whom you see. Read Acupuncture Can Reduce Costs for Pain Patients.
Does your child get sick a lot or complain of stomachaches? Perhaps an older child has migraines or trouble sleeping? If so they may benefit from acupuncture. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds acupuncture safe for children. Already in the U.S. about 150,000 kids are receiving acupuncture for chronic pain and other issues. Acupuncture for children differs from that for adults in that the needles are left in for shorter periods — if at all. In babies and toddlers, the acupuncturist may insert and withdraw the needle in one move. The study reports that side effects are nearly non-existent in the hands of a trained and licensed acupuncturist. Read more about it at The New York Times.
Chinese herbal medicine formulated especially for children may be combined with acupuncture for a stronger effect. At my office on Larchmont in Los Angeles, our pharmacy stocks many excellent pediatric formulas called Gentle Warriors, from Kan Herb Company.
Mice getting acupuncture... you heard it here first! Actually, a study published in Nature Neuroscience in May 2010 shows how acupuncture increases the concentration of the body's natural painkiller, called adenosine. Neuroscientists tested acupuncture on the knees of mice then measured the positive effects. Read more about the study at ars technica.
Corydalis, or yan hu suo, is to the Chinese what aspirin is to Westerners. This potent painkiller is widely used for all types of pain, especially headaches and menstrual cramps. It is particularly beneficial for people who cannot take aspirin or other pain medications due to ulcers or stomach upset. Studies show that it works especially well when combined with acupuncture. Powdered corydalis is one of the strongest analgesic herbs out there and its effectiveness has been compared with morphine and codeine (it is approximately 1% the strength of opium). Because of this it also can be used to reduce anxiety and stress and promote sound sleep. Unlike morphine, yan hu suo has no side effects, a slower development of tolerance, and is non-addictive. Still, pregnant and nursing women should avoid it.
Excellent corydalis formulas are available by prescription from a licensed acupuncturist.
There was very positive news on the medical benefits of acupuncture in a 2010 article by the Wall Street Journal. MRI scans of the brain show the "calming effects" acupuncture has on patients with chronic pain. Interestingly enough, the article explains that, "U.S. Navy, Air Force and Army doctors are using acupuncture to treat musculoskeletal problems, pain and stress in stateside hospitals and combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan." It also explains that acupuncture "cause[s] the release of endorphins," brain chemicals that naturally relieve pain and promote a feeling of well-being, and is "generally safe."