Acupuncture continues to dominate medical treatment options. Recently, it has been more accepted by Western health professionals because of the numerous benefits it provides. “It is difficult to study the physiological mechanisms of acupuncture, because the placebo effect is strong and the pain relief it provides is real,” R. Douglas Fields, Ph.D. notes. He says, “Measuring the body’s physiological response to stabbing needles in it is certain to evoke physiological responses in the nerves and brain, but linking the body’s physiological response to the psychological perception of reduced pain is difficult.”
Aside from its effectivity in the treatment of physical nuisances such as headaches, sports injuries, back pain, and migraine, it is also helpful in treating mental illnesses. Here are some of the best mental benefits of acupuncture.
According to recent studies, one in 12 Americans experiences depression. However, the usual treatment revolves around antidepressant medications. The problem they face with this approach is that it leaves them with side effects that only worsens the illness itself. There are times that these side effects contribute to the areas that these people need help with like weight gain, low libido, lack of energy, and sleeping disorders. “Depression can be treated successfully—the treatment is not the problem. The willingness to be assessed and ask for help is the major limitation,” says psychologist Susan Fletcher, PhD.
James Lake, M.D. shares, “Findings of a double-blind, sham-controlled study support that traditional manual acupuncture (i.e., needles in the absence of electrical current) is an effective treatment of severe depressed mood. By the end of the 8-week study, 68 percent of 33 female outpatients being treated with a specialized acupuncture protocol directed at depressed mood had achieved full remission.” Acupuncture has been proven to relieve symptoms of depression, especially physical pain and the emptiness of being disconnected from life. The best way to do so, however, is to combine this with Western medicine and therapy. Take note that there have to be fewer medications.
Acupuncture dedicated to addressing anxiety can reduce physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, digestive disturbances, tightness in the chest, and insomnia. What’s good with this treatment is its ability to reduce both mental and emotional symptoms for people battling anxiety. “Like monsters under the bed, stress and anxiety are stealing the peaceful nighttime rest of nearly 70 million Americans. Anxiety may also be sabotaging your confidence, turning your stomach into knots, and impacting your general well-being,” says Jamie Long Psy.D.
They do acupuncture in a way that instills a feeling of peace and calmness. Once the patients achieve their sense of fulfillment, they now get to the point of reducing the dosage.
Stress is one of the primary reasons why people seek acupuncture treatment. Nearly 77% of employees experience the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety because of the increasing job demands and personal pressures.
“The experience of acupuncture is, for most of my patients, quite pleasant and relaxing,” says Teri Goetz, M.S., LAC, ACC. She shares, “Once the needles are in, the patient lies quietly on the table with low lighting, lovely music playing and often with aromatherapy incorporated into the process.” The role of acupuncture in stress is that it moderates the client’s mood, lowers the stress hormones inside the body, and improves the overall feeling of contentment and happiness. “You are the only one who can determine which stress relievers are the right ones to incorporate into your stress management plan. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, relaxing is in the mind of the relaxer,” says Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D.
Who knows what will work for you if you don’t try?
People exposed to acupuncture revealed that they achieve more mental clarity. Enhanced mental clarity leads to a more calm and relaxed day-to-day life. Since they don’t feel that much negative energy, they experience a surge of positive energy.
This boost in energy also comes from improved sleep. A lot of individuals experience sleep disorders because of the countless things running in their minds. With acupuncture, you get to have a more organized thought process. Upon reaching this state, there is no need to stress out at any time of the day, thus increasing your energy for the next day.
As mentioned above, acupuncture is a relaxing treatment and can remove impediments in sleeping. It helps treat insomnia. There is a different treatment approach, however, in cases of chronic insomnia. To solve this, it has to be a tailored approach depending on the patient’s situation and needs. Some of the things that your acupuncturist may ask are the following:
- Do you have problems staying asleep, falling asleep, or both?
- What are your behaviors during the day and the hours before bedtime?
- How do you feel when you’re awake: obsessively thinking, tossing and turning, or lying with eyes open?
Once the acupuncturist establishes the pattern of insomnia, he or she will now draft a personalized acupuncture treatment.
If you’re more inclined to avoid the use of harmful and invasive conventional treatment, then acupuncture is perfect for you. Make sure your acupuncturist bears a license, and good health will follow.