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What can acupuncture treat?

There are many ways to treat diseases, but the most common for us humans is to go to the doctor and be prescribed some kind of medication or being referred to other specialists, who they believe can help us solve our problems. Finding the right treatment can be confusing sometimes, but what if the solution was a treatment that didn't involve medication? Acupuncture might be the answer, but like anything new and unfamiliar, most people think: "How can those thin needles solve my problem?".  It's a good question, and we will try to answer it in this blog post.

The many benefits of acupuncture

Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine and is considered to be a holistic approach to health and healing. It is a treatment that uses thin needles to activate specific points on the body, helping to strengthen the immune system, improve energy levels and promote well-being. Most people who have tried regular acupuncture treatments have experienced relief and improvement in their symptoms. The question is, what kind of issues can acupuncture be used for? 

Acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a sustainable, human-centered, safe, evidence-based, traditional and complementary medical service.  Today, WHO recommends acupuncture for more than 100 different diseases and conditions.

Here is a list of symptoms, conditions and diseases that have been shown in controlled studies to be effectively treated with acupuncture:

  • Side effects of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy

  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)

  • Biliary colic

  • Depression 

  • Dysentery, acute bacillary (gastrointestinal infection)

  • Menstrual pain

  • Acute epigastric pain (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis and gastrospasm)

  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)

  • Headache

  • Hypertension, essential

  • Hypotension, primary

  • Induction of labor

  • Knee pain

  • Leukopenia

  • Low back pain

  • Fetal malposition, correction of

  • Morning sickness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Neck pain

  • Dental pain (including dental pain)

  • Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) 

  • Periarthrosis of the shoulder (frozen shoulder)

  • Post-operative pain

  • Renal colic

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (chronic inflammatory joint disease)

  • Sciatica

  • Sprain

  • Stroke (blood clot in the brain)

  • Tennis elbow

List of diseases, symptoms or conditions for which WHO recommends acupuncture as a proven therapeutic effect, although more evidence is needed:

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal tract spasms)

  • Acne

  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification

  • Bell's palsy (half-sided facial paralysis)

  • Bronchial asthma 

  • Cancer pain

  • Cardiac neurosis

  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation

  • Gallstone disease (including gallbladder inflammation or jaundice)

  • Competitive stress syndrome

  • Craniocerebral injury, closed

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Earache

  • Epidemic hemorrhagic fever

  • Nosebleed, simple (without generalized or localized disease)

  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection

  • Female infertility

  • Spasms in the face

  • Urethral syndrome in women

  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis (inflammation of the tendon)

  • Gastrokinetic disorder

  • Gouty arthritis

  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status

  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpes virus 3)

  • Hyperlipemia (metabolic disorder)

  • Hypo-ovarianism (ovarian hypoplasia)

  • Insomnia (sleeplessness)

  • Labor pains

  • Lack of lactation (decreased milk production in women) 

  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic

  • Ménière's disease (attacks of ringing in the ears, severe dizziness and hearing loss)

  • Nerve pain, post-herpetic

  • Eczema

  • Obesity (overweight)

  • Opium, cocaine and heroin addiction

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Pain due to endoscopic examination

  • Pain due to thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease)

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)

  • Post-textubation in children

  • Postoperative convalescence

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

  • Prostatitis, chronic (Inflammation of the prostate)

  • Pruritus (Itching of the skin)

  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome

  • Raynaud's syndrome, primary

  • Recurrent lower urinary tract infection

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

  • Urinary retention, traumatic

  • Schizophrenia

  • Sialism, drug-induced

  • Sjögren's syndrome

  • Sore throat (incl. laryngitis)

  • Pain in the spine, acute

  • Stiff neck

  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

  • Tietze syndrome (an irritation condition of the rib cartilage)

  • Tobacco addiction

  • Tourette's syndrome

  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic (Bleeding colon inflammation)

  • Urolithiasis (Kidney stones)

  • Vascular dementia

  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

List of diseases, symptoms or conditions for which individual controlled trials have shown therapeutic efficacy. WHO recommends acupuncture for these when treatment with conventional and other therapies is difficult:

  • Melasma (pigment changes in the skin)

  • Choroidopathy, central serous

  • Color blindness

  • Deafness

  • Hypophrenia

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Neuropathic bladder due to spinal cord injury

  • Pulmonary heart disease, chronic

  • Small airway obstruction

Acupuncture is not a miracle cure, but many people have found relief and improved quality of life through this treatment. It is important to talk to a professional acupuncturist before receiving acupuncture, so they can create an individualized treatment plan to suit your needs and condition. No human bodies are the same, so their treatments should not be either.

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