Autoimmune diseases – conditions where the body’s defense system mistakenly attacks its own cells – can be notoriously complex and difficult to treat. Traditional Western medicine has made significant strides, but holistic avenues of treatment are always worth exploring. Acupuncture, for instance – a practice that has been integral to traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,500 years – is increasingly being used in this way. Can acupuncture help autoimmune disease? Let’s explore.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles at specific points on the body. It is believed that these points, when stimulated, can balance the body’s life force, or “Qi” (pronounced “chee”), thereby promoting healing.
Practitioners believe acupuncture can help autoimmune disease in the following ways:
- Anti-inflammatory effect: Inflammation is a hallmark of many autoimmune diseases. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce inflammation by promoting the release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.
- Pain relief: Many individuals with autoimmune diseases suffer from chronic pain, particularly those with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture can help alleviate pain by stimulating nerves that release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
- Stress relief: Stress is a known trigger for autoimmune flare-ups. Through its calming and balancing effects on the body, acupuncture can help reduce stress levels, potentially minimizing the frequency and severity of episodes.
- Hormonal balance: Some autoimmune diseases are influenced by hormonal imbalances. Acupuncture has been shown to affect these levels and bring them into a more harmonious state.
Acupuncture is regularly leveraged to provide relief for many diseases, including, but not limited to:
- Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, tenderness, and fatigue. The exact cause is unknown, but it’s believed to involve a variety of genetic and environmental factors. It stands as one of the foremost autoimmune conditions that acupuncturists see patients for. Individuals with Fibromyalgia often grapple with debilitating muscle aches and chronic fatigue. Acupuncture, targeting specific points, can offer relief from these deep muscle pains and improve energy levels, providing Fibromyalgia patients a much-needed respite from their persistent symptoms.
- Lupus: Lupus patients have reported decreased joint pain and improved energy levels after undergoing acupuncture sessions.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Studies have shown that acupuncture can help alleviate some of the symptoms of MS, including muscle spasms, pain, and fatigue.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: As mentioned, many RA patients turn to acupuncture to help manage pain, with some noting a significant reduction in pain levels post-treatment.
While acupuncture is not a cure for autoimmune diseases, it offers a holistic approach to managing the symptoms and improving the quality of life for patients. Given the potential benefits and the minimal side effects, acupuncture is worth considering as a supplementary treatment alongside conventional therapies.
Don’t let autoimmune diseases dictate your life. Reach out to Resilient Health Acupuncture & Wellness today to schedule your appointment and discover the difference acupuncture can make.