There is some evidence to suggest that acupuncture may be helpful in the treatment of addiction. Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to promote healing and relieve symptoms.
Some studies have found that acupuncture may be effective in reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms in people with substance use disorders, including addiction to drugs and alcohol. However, acupuncture should not be used as the sole treatment for addiction and should be used in conjunction with other evidence-based therapies, such as therapy.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture works by restoring balance to the body’s natural flow of energy, or qi. In this worldview, health is achieved when qi is able to flow freely through the body, and illness is caused by a disruption or imbalance in the flow of qi.
Acupuncture is believed to correct imbalances in the flow of qi by stimulating specific points on the body, known as acupuncture points or acupoints. These points are located on channels of energy, called meridians, which run throughout the body. Acupuncturists believe that inserting needles into these points can help to restore balance to the flow of qi and promote healing.
There are also a number of more scientifically based explanations for how acupuncture may work. For example, acupuncture may stimulate the release of certain chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins or serotonin, which can help to reduce pain and improve mood. Acupuncture may also stimulate the nervous system and increase blood flow to certain areas of the body, which can help to promote healing.
While the exact mechanisms by which acupuncture works are still not fully understood, it is generally considered to be a safe and effective treatment for a number of conditions.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is generally considered to be a safe treatment when performed by a qualified and licensed provider. Complications from acupuncture are rare, but they can occur. The most common adverse effects of acupuncture are minor and may include:
– Pain or discomfort at the site of needle insertion
– Bruising or bleeding at the needle site
More serious complications, such as infection or injury to internal organs, are rare, but they can occur. To minimize the risk of complications, it is important to choose a qualified and licensed acupuncture provider who has experience treating the condition being treated and who follows proper sterilization procedures.
It is also important to inform the acupuncturist of any medications you are taking, as well as any medical conditions you have, as this can affect the safety and effectiveness of the acupuncture treatment.
How Does Acupuncture Help Drug and Alcohol Cravings?
Acupuncture may affect the way that the brain processes information and responds to stress. Some research suggests that acupuncture may alter activity in brain regions that are involved in addiction and stress, which may help to reduce cravings and improve overall well-being.
It is important to note that acupuncture should not be used as the sole treatment for addiction and should be used in conjunction with other evidence-based therapies, such as individual and group therapy. It is also important to work with a qualified and licensed acupuncture provider who has experience treating addiction and to coordinate care with a substance abuse treatment professional.
Interested in trying acupuncture for free? Drop into our community Recovery Wellness Hour! You can also contact us to hear more about our addiction treatment programming.