Acupuncture for Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in Australia. Anxiety has many causes and can have a large impact on the quality of life of sufferers, meaning finding an effective treatment is a top priority. The sooner anxiety is treated; the more likely it is that a full recovery will be made. Acupuncture for anxiety is a valid treatment method, with studies showing that acupuncture has positive outcomes and may be as effective as some drug therapies and comparable to cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of anxiety (1). When practiced by a trained professional, acupuncture for anxiety is completely safe and should be free from negative side effects. Each acupuncture treatment is individualized and works to alleviate stress by balancing the body’s energy.
Depression is another common mental health condition that affects Australians that can be successfully treated with acupuncture (2). Acupuncture for depression has been shown to effectively reduce the severity of depression (3) by correcting imbalances in energy flow and stimulating the release of natural endorphins (4) that promote improved mental wellbeing. Acupuncture for depression is also a safe and effective treatment option for pregnant women (5), a group for whom there are few medically acceptable treatment options available. Left untreated, depression can lead to serious consequences such as suicide, self-injury, poor school/work performance and other health concerns. Acupuncture for depression is an effective treatment option that can treat depression and reduce the likelihood of developing these consequences. It is effective either as a monotherapy (6) (treating depression with acupuncture alone), or as a combination therapy in conjunction with other treatments such as anti-depressants or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Acupuncture for Migraines and Acupuncture for Headaches
Migraines are a type of headache that are characterized by moderate to severe pulsating pain with associated symptoms, that can last anywhere from 2 hours up to over 72 hours. A headache is a more generalized pain that is mild to moderate, and can be triggered by stress, muscle strain or anxiety. Acupuncture for migraines can reduce the pain caused by migraines and therefore also reduce the need for pain medication (7). Migraines are largely self-limiting, meaning sufferers are often unable to go about their usual lives while experiencing a migraine. Acupuncture can effectively reduce the pain so daily activities can be continued. In some cases, acupuncture may be more effective than traditional pain medication in decreasing this pain and providing relief to sufferers (8). Acupuncture for migraines is also effective in preventing the occurrence of migraines through individualized treatment that aims to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and decrease muscle tension (9). Acupuncture for headaches has also been associated with a decrease in pain and frequency (10), allowing sufferers to resume their daily activities free from pain.
Acupuncture for Weight Loss
In 2015, it was revealed that a staggering 63.4% of Australians are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for many serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or type II diabetes. Acupuncture is known to successfully treat a wide range of digestive and gastrointestinal disorders, and evidence is now emerging that suggests acupuncture for weight loss is also effective. For successful weight loss to occur, often a decrease in caloric intake is required. Acupuncture for weight loss can help to achieve this by suppressing appetite by stimulating the vagal nerve and raising serotonin levels (11). This is an effective way to decrease appetite which then leads to successful weight loss. Poor adrenal function been associated with an increased risk of obesity and acupuncture can also work to increase adrenal function. Acupuncture can enhance the functioning of the sympathetic-adrenal system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system, which in turn can improve weight loss (12).
The amount of Australians utilizing assisted reproduction therapies has increased dramatically over the past decade, along with the success rates of these procedures. Acupuncture for fertility is a therapy that can assist with preventing the decline in natural fertility by stimulating blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, and also assist in increasing the likelihood of success during in vitro fertilization (IVF). One study found that acupuncture for fertility on the day of an embryo transfer significantly improved the reproductive outcome compared to those who did not receive acupuncture (13).
Acupuncture is a safe and effective natural therapy that can treat many conditions and is becoming a more popular treatment choice for many Australians.
(1) Errington‐Evans, N., 2012. Acupuncture for anxiety. CNS neuroscience & therapeutics, 18(4), pp.277-284.
(2) Sudhakaran, P., 2014. Acupuncture for depression. Medical Acupuncture,26(4), pp.230-240.
(3) Wang, H., Qi, H., Wang, B.S., Cui, Y.Y., Zhu, L., Rong, Z.X. and Chen, H.Z., 2008. Is acupuncture beneficial in depression: a meta-analysis of 8 randomized controlled trials?. Journal of affective disorders, 111(2), pp.125-134.
(4) Han, J.S., 2004. Acupuncture and endorphins. Neuroscience letters, 361(1), pp.258-261.
(5) Manber, R., Schnyer, R.N., Allen, J.J., Rush, A.J. and Blasey, C.M., 2004. Acupuncture: a promising treatment for depression during pregnancy. Journal of affective disorders, 83(1), pp.89-95.
(6) Zhang, Z.J., Chen, H.Y., Yip, K.C., Ng, R. and Wong, V.T., 2010. The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture therapy in depressive disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of affective disorders, 124(1), pp.9-21.
(7) Vincent, C.A., 1989. A Controlled Trial of the Treatment of Migraine by Acupuncute. The Clinical journal of pain, 5(4), pp.305-312.
(8) Loh, L., Nathan, P.W., Schott, G.D. and Zilkha, K.J., 1984. Acupuncture versus medical treatment for migraine and muscle tension headaches.Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 47(4), pp.333-337.
(9) Alecrim-Andrade, J., Maciel-Júnior, J.A., Carnè, X., Vasconcelos, G.M.S. and Correa-Filho, H.R., 2008. Acupuncture in migraine prevention: a randomized sham controlled study with 6-months posttreatment follow-up.The Clinical journal of pain, 24(2), pp.98-105.
(10) Melchart, D., Weidenhammer, W., Streng, A., Hoppe, A., Pfaffenrath, V. and Linde, K., 2006. Acupuncture for chronic headaches—an epidemiological study. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 46(4), pp.632-641.
(11) Melchart, D., Weidenhammer, W., Streng, A., Hoppe, A., Pfaffenrath, V. and Linde, K., 2006. Acupuncture for chronic headaches—an epidemiological study. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 46(4), pp.632-641.
(12) Liu, Z., Sun, F., Li, J., Wang, Y. and Hu, K., 1993. Effect of acupuncture on weight loss evaluated by adrenal function. Journal of traditional Chinese medicine= Chung i tsa chih ying wen pan/sponsored by All-China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 13(3), pp.169-173.