Over the last few decades, acupuncture has come to be accepted by a growing number of people as an effective treatment for pain and nausea; its use is supported both by studies and individual experience. However, acupuncture applications go beyond those two issues.
Today, acupuncture is being used more often for conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and obesity. Because acupuncture recognizes the vital link between the mind and the body, it can be very helpful in treating these disorders, which stem in part from a disconnect between the two.
The biggest advantage acupuncture has over traditional Western medicine is the lack of side effects - from surgery to pills, many treatments can end up causing as many problems as they solve. In addition to lacking the side effects of traditional medical treatments, acupuncture is more affordable in the long run, since there are no prescription or surgery costs. At SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers, we utilize acupuncture as one method of getting our patients back to the "wellness state" so that they can live pain free lives.
Acupuncture for Depression and Anxiety
Many people experience a mood disorder at some point in their lives; the most common disorders are depression and anxiety. Over the last several decades, the use of psychiatric drugs has steadily risen; currently, 1 in 5 Americans takes prescription medication for psychological problems. While there are several conditions which can usually be effectively managed only with medication, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, most patients with mood disorders can be treated without drugs.
Many people taking anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication experience negative side effects, such as:
- Weight gain
- Loss of sex drive
- Temporary increase in suicidal thoughts
- No longer experiencing intense feelings of any kind
Acupuncture can be used to treat mood disorders without causing any of these side effects; performed by a trained professional using sterilized needles, acupuncture is quite safe. In addition, acupuncture treatment for depression and anxiety can take effect in 1 to 2 weeks (3 to 6 treatments), as opposed to 1 to 3 months for medication.
Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation
While some people can quit smoking simply by going "cold turkey," getting some help along the way can lead to greater success in both the short- and long-term. In the traditional medical model, there are two routes to helping people quit smoking: nicotine replacements such as gums and patches, and mood-altering medication. The most common medications prescribed for smoking cessation are bupropion hydrochloride (branded as Wellbutrin, Zyban and generic forms) and varenicline (branded as Chantix); both serve to interfere with the reward pathway that causes the brain to desire nicotine.
There are significant issues with both of these approaches:
- Nicotine replacements serve to prolong nicotine addiction, and do not address the underlying problem
- Because nicotine is toxic, replacements can cause problems such as redness at the site of the patch, or irritation in the mouth if a spray is used
- Bupropion hydrochloride and varenicline have been associated with sudden, negative behavioral changes
- Medication must be used for 7 to 12 weeks or even longer and are quite costly
Acupuncture treatment aids smoking cessation in two ways: it makes you crave cigarettes less intensely and less often, and it helps with symptoms of withdrawal, such as irritability and restlessness. Unlike traditional treatment models which can take months, only 4-6 treatments are needed, and effects may last as long as 5 years.
Acupuncture for Weight Loss
The obesity epidemic is often referred to as the biggest threat to health and life expectancy in modern America; yet despite knowing the importance of losing weight, many people find themselves unable to do so. This leaves many turning to either radical diets, surgeries, and medications to lose weight, or taking a variety of pills to treat the symptoms (high cholesterol and blood pressure, etc) but not the cause.
While surgery and medication have come a long way in recent years, they are still rife with side effects:
- Traditional diets tend to cause a rebound later on
- Surgery takes control away from the patient, while holistic medicine emphasizes the person's control of and harmony with the body
- Surgery can cause serious conditions such as hernias, ulcers, and gallstones
- Stimulant diet pills can cause high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and insomnia
- Both surgery and pills can lead to gastrointestinal problems, as both interfere with the normal functioning of the body by inhibiting your body's ability to absorb nutrients
People seeking acupuncture treatment for weight loss may have only a few pounds to lose, or they may already be experiencing obesity-related health problems that have significant medical implications. For both groups, acupuncture treatment can be an effective way to shed pounds, when used in conjunction with lifestyle changes. Since acupuncture can reduce depression and anxiety, it is especially helpful for people whose weight gain stems from emotional eating. SouthEast Chiropractic not only offer acupuncture treatments for weight issues but also nutritional assessments and counseling for better efficacy of the patients weight loss program overall.
As with all holistic medicine, acupuncture treatment can be aided by other approaches - for example, it can be paired with counseling to treat mood disorders, with behavioral changes to stop smoking, or with exercise to promote weight loss. It can also be paired with other holistic treatments, such as herbal or vitamin supplements.
The caring and suppotive team of doctors and staff at SouthEast Chiropractic want to see each of our patients succeed in overcoming personal and physical challenges of addiction, depression, anxiety, weight problems, pain and nausea. Our treatment options are comprehensive and customized to each individual. We would be happy to speak with you on acupuncture and it's incorporaton in your treatment. If you'd like a few more benefits of acupuncture, click to download our free whitepaper below. As always, your personal information is kept confidential and never shared.