It’s the start of a new year, and the ideal time to reevaluate your life choices and set goals for improving your health. Chances are, regular workouts and healthier eating have been on your resolution list before. But what about acupuncture? The ancient Chinese system of medicine could be just what you need to feel your best and achieve optimal health.
Traditional acupuncture involves inserting fine sterile needles in specific “acupoints” to improve the flow of energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) throughout the body. Once only used in Eastern cultures, it has gained widespread acceptance by Western medical professionals, who believe it works by activating the body’s natural self-healing process.
The World Health Organization currently recognizes acupuncture as a research-proven treatment for a wide variety of ailments, such as low back, neck and knee pain, seasonal allergies, depression, and tennis elbow. While more scientific proof is needed, it also shows promise for the treatment of insomnia, fibromyalgia, infertility, obesity, menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms and other conditions.
So don’t waste another day feeling anything less than great! Talk to a licensed practitioner to find out how acupuncture can help cure what ails you. For example:
A 2012 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the largest and most in-depth analysis of the Chinese therapy to date, found acupuncture effective at reducing several types of chronic pain, including back, neck and shoulder, osteoarthritis and headaches. According to the study authors, acupuncture showed a small but noteworthy advantage over faux acupuncture treatments, leading them to conclude that there is a benefit beyond the placebo effect. If chronic pain is interfering with your workouts, sleep, mood and overall quality of life, acupuncture is worth a shot.
Are you among the estimated 40 percent of adults who suffers from insomnia? A 2009 analysis of 46 controlled studies published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found acupuncture successful at improving both sleep duration and quality, especially when combined with Chinese herbs. Sleep deprivation can have a number of negative consequences, from fatigue, irritability and weight gain to higher risk of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.
According to a 2010 review of published clinical trials, acupuncture appears beneficial as a complementary treatment for seasonal allergies (aka hay fever). In a 2013 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 71 percent of allergy sufferers who underwent acupuncture reported modest improvement in their symptoms and a decrease in antihistamine use after 8 weeks. Researchers note that those receiving fake acupuncture treatments also reported some symptom relief, though not as much as the group receiving acupuncture.
IS IT SAFE?
Acupuncture is considered safe when performed by a well-trained experienced practitioner using sterile needles. That said, it isn’t for everyone. Certain medical conditions, such as having a bleeding disorder or pacemaker, as well as pregnancy increase the risk of complications. Be sure to review your full health history with your licensed acupuncturist before getting treated.
ACUPUNCTURE AT ZENERGY
Zenergy Health Club & Spa offers private acupuncture treatments with three well-known licensed practitioners: Anneliese Ware, Sandi Hagel and Tifney Stewart. Group acupuncture sessions also are held in the yoga studio once or twice a month (pre-registration required, limit 8 people per session). Zenergy’s acupuncture practitioners work as part of the Zenergy Wellness Team, providing pre- and post-operative support for physical therapy patients along with recovery and injury prevention for athletes. For more information or to schedule a treatment, call 208.725.0595 or click here.