​5 Science-Backed Ways Acupuncture Improves Your Life Better Sleep, Less Anxiety, More Energy - How to Live Better through Acupuncture

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Let’s start with this question:

“Why would you want to stick needles into your body for your health?”

Not everyone believes in the power of acupuncture, or any other type of alternative medicine for that matter.

Some people outright attack anything not a pharmaceutical.

While acupuncture is shown to:

  • Treat even chronic pain
  • Improve quality of life
  • Reduce the side effects of cancer treatments
  • And lessen or resolve many health problems

Some people still refuse to accept that fact.

But more than relieving pain and healing a wide range of diseases, acupuncture works exceptionally well for improving your everyday quality of your life.

That, by far, is one of the most important uses of this method.

It simply helps you feel great.

Plus – who needs to suffer another nasty cold or flu when it could be prevented?

Or how about the major cause of many diseases – too much stress and anxiety!

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We’re going to go through five ways acupuncture improves your daily life, how it works, and the proof it works.

Here they are:

  1. Promotes sleep
  2. Increases energy
  3. Reduces stress and anxiety
  4. Ensures better digestion
  5. Improves mental clarity

Have you ever wondered why this traditional Chinese remedy has withstood the test of time?

Historians believe that this method of healing has been around since 100 B.C. The Chinese have consistently used it, starting long before the advances of modern technology.

The fact that the practice is still extensively in use today speaks to how effective it can be in the right hands.

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1. Acupuncture for Better Sleep

Insomnia is a health issue that we can all live without.

The lack of restful sleep affects our day-to-day activities and our relationships with the people around us. Without enough sleep, you can’t work as vigorously as you used to.

You tend to be cranky, too.

But it’s not just insomnia…

Getting the most of the sleep you get will improve your whole day. Haven’t you heard how important sleep is to your success?

If you complain to a doctor about sleeplessness, he may be quick to prescribe some sleeping pills that might just work for you.

These pills are chemical-based medications that trigger hormones and neurotransmitters. While it works, your body will likely experience more side effects in the long run than is worth it. These adverse effects are caused by the chemical residue of the induced reaction.

Known Side Effects of Sleeping Pills

  • Appetite changes
  • Balance issues
  • Burning or tingling sensations in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Mental slowness
  • Stomach pain
  • Temporary impairment
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Unusual dreams
  • Weakness

Acupuncture Against Insomnia

Acupuncture, on the other hand, works naturally to give you a good night’s sleep. In Chinese theory, it balances the Qi, or the flow of energy, to promote sleep. As per traditional Chinese medicine, insomnia is caused by the energy imbalances of the body’s main organs, such as the kidneys and the heart.

From a medical point of view, acupuncture regulates the production of endorphins, serotonin, and melatonin. These hormones affect one’s ability to sleep. It also eliminates tension and pain, which are the common causes of insomnia.

Medical Studies

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine proves that the beneficial effects of acupuncture are comparable to that of Western medicines.

Forty-six random trials were carried out on 3,811 patients. Comparative results show that acupuncture increased a person’s sleep duration for up to three hours.

There were also no serious side effects noted in the test subjects.

On a separate study, significant changes in the sleeping patterns of menopausal women and elderly individuals were noted. As such, The University of Maryland Medical Center included acupuncture and acupressure as among the successful treatments for insomnia.

Real Life Experiences

Dave Asprey, the New York Times bestselling author of The Bulletproof Diet, shares a story how he resolved his insomnia through acupuncture.

He had tried just about everything to help him sleep better. He had undergone complex methods like EEG neurofeedback and had even used smart drugs and electromagnetic fields. He took honey on a regular basis, too.

He admits that while some of these techniques work, nothing is as good as acupuncture. Note that Dave has a medical doctor for a wife.

Insomnia Acupuncture Points

There are different points involved in treating insomnia through acupuncture. Some of the most popular points your acupuncturist may use include:

  • Vital Diaphragm –at back, between the shoulder blade and the spine
  • Inner Gate Point – on the wrist
  • Spirit Gate – inner side of the wrist crease
  • Wind Mansion – center of the back of the head
  • Gates of Consciousness – base of the skull
  • Third Eye Point – between the eyebrows
  • Sea of Tranquility – Upper part of the ribcage, between the breasts
  • Shining Sea – inner ankle bone
  • Extending Vessel – outer ankle bone

Getting a good night’s sleep can be as easy as seeing your acupuncturist.

Even pressing on these points repeatedly yourself can help with bouts of sleeplessness.

Adequate rest gets you going the next day. It also puts you in a good mood. With acupuncture, you can forget about dependency on sleeping pills.

You can also say goodbye to using sleep-inducing methods that you are not comfortable with. A good night’s sleep ensures you have enough energy to last the whole day.

Which brings us to our next topic – energy!

Everyone needs more… here’s how you can boost yours…

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2. Acupuncture for Increased Energy

Acupuncture’s daily health benefits don’t end with a good night’s sleep.

It can also help you sustain the energy you need to perform varied tasks throughout the day. We can all use additional energy.

After all, who among us doesn’t want to be more and do more?

The problem with chronic fatigue is that we don’t realize right away that we suffer from it. Worse, Western medicine can’t offer a lot in treating it’s energy-zapping effects. Doctors will merely prescribe vitamin B12 shots along with other supplements to help address the issue.

Here is where acupuncture could be of immense help.

And you don’t have to experience a drastic drop in your energy levels before you do something about it.

With regular therapy, acupuncture can give you added energy to make your days more productive than before.

Causes of Chronic Fatigue

The three general causes of chronic fatigue are:

  • Viral infections
  • Immune system problems
  • Hormonal imbalances

However, scientists admit that they find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes chronic fatigue in a person.

That’s the reason why prescribing the right medication can be a challenge for them. When the so-called exact science can’t determine what can fully help a patient, alternative methods can be the better solution.

Those who are suffering from chronic fatigue issues are encouraged to try acupuncture help regain more of their life and energy.

Medical Studies

A recent study published on PubMed attempted to observe the therapeutic effects of acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS.

One group of 45 patients with nightly cases of the said condition were given Shenmai injection. Another 45 were treated with acupuncture. Both treatments showed a noticeable decrease in fatigue symptoms.

However, the results experienced by patients on acupuncture proved to be far superior over the other treatment.

The University of Michigan also launched an informal study that involved teaching 39 college students the location of acupuncture points that are either relaxing or stimulating. They were subjected to three days of lectures to induce fatigue.

Half of the students were taught acupressure points that were supposed to stimulate them. They were asked to apply pressure on those acupressure points throughout the next two days.

The students who used the stimulation techniques reported that they felt more alert than the other group.

Patient Experiences

Claire Donaldson shared a story through ME Association on how acupuncture addressed the feeling of tiredness that she felt for months.

She is now a therapist herself, after working as an investment banker for years.

Prior to her career change, she was usually up at 5:30 a.m. and worked up to 10 p.m. every day. After two years of leading a busy lifestyle, she began experiencing dizzy spells.

The spells had gotten worse…

She got to the point she could barely move her legs.

She would always rush to the doctor if the symptoms didn’t ease in 24 hours. Her doctor told her how her highly stressful lifestyle was the cause of her illness.

She stopped working for a month, but the symptoms persisted.

She even tried yoga and maintained a healthy diet.

And finally, after being frustrated for so long, she came across acupuncture. In just one session, she felt differently. She felt better for the first time in two months.

After several weekly sessions, her health continued to improve even more, inspiring her to shift her career and help others.

Chronic Fatigue Acupuncture Points

To eliminate fatigue through acupuncture, the work will often be focused on some or all of the following points:

  • Third Eye Point – between the eyebrows
  • Sea of Energy – underneath the belly button
  • Gates of Consciousness – base of the skull
  • Sea of Vitality – lower back
  • Outer Gate Point – above the wrist crease

They can be activated with pressure as well. For faster and more effective treatment, however, consult with an acupuncture practitioner.

Of course, it still helps immensely to address those key, energy zapping forces in our lives – stress and anxiety…

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3. Acupuncture for Stress and Anxiety

In Chinese medicine, when the body’s main energy force or Qi is regulated, one’s overall health is improved.

On the flip side, if it is deficient, stress and anxiety occur.

These are two of the most common health issues suffered by adults.

Unfortunately, some of the conventional Western treatments used to address anxiety have adverse side effects. And therapy and supplementation are usually needed.

Acupuncture proves to be a natural alternative treatment for these health issues without the side effects.

Acupuncture addresses stress and anxiety by properly balancing the body’s hormones and emotions.

Symptoms of Stress

Feeling stressed seems obvious, right?

Well, not always.

Stress can appear in our lives in many strange and physical ways…

Here are the most common effects:

  • Chest pains
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Tense muscles
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of sexual desire or ability
  • Upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation and nausea

If you feel any of these on a regular basis, it is highly advised that you seek help. Acupuncture is one way to naturally address this chronic problem.

Medical Background

Several clinical studies have proven that acupuncture can help relieve stress and anxiety.

It’s an acupuncture superpower.

One documented test was done by Georgetown University Medical Center, as published in the Journal of Endocrinology.

It showed the biological factors of stress and anxiety physically changing.

Animal models were used to demonstrate how acupuncture can lower the blood’s hormone levels by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Such hormones regulate the organ’s reaction to stress, moods, and emotions.

The rats that didn’t receive acupuncture had higher levels of peptides that induce stress and anxiety. On the other hand, the test subjects that were treated with acupuncture had drastically lowered levels.

A Patient’s Story

Avitol shared her story when she tried acupuncture for anxiety during Mental Health Awareness Month.

It was intense:

“When I was first diagnosed with severe, debilitating anxiety, I was at a complete loss. What I was going through went beyond the random, stray worry that most people experience. I suffered from a host of physical symptoms including losing 20 pounds in two weeks, chest pains, non-stop body sweats, insomnia, exhaustion, a clenched jaw, stomach issues, and more. It all came together in a whirlwind convergence of physical and mental symptoms that sidelined me from daily life for a few months.”

She tried all the typical de-stressing activities from relaxation to yoga… and then someone suggested acupuncture.

“After a month of regular treatments, I couldn’t help but notice a difference. I would always have the best sleep of the week the night after my acupuncture appointment. And I would also feel lighter.”

She’s not the only one who has found help in acupuncture…

Emily, a married woman, tried acupuncture to help her get pregnant. However, the treatment ended up diminishing the anxiety she felt around not being pregnant. Acupuncture calmed her body until she was no longer worried or pressured about her fertility state.

And Hayley, a writer, also tried acupuncture, but for an entirely different reason, sinus trouble. While being treated, her acupuncturist noticed that her emotions are high and suggested a plan to address her anxiety level. Acupuncture enabled her to get relief for more than just her sinus problem.

Stress and Anxiety Acupuncture Points

If you decide to see an acupuncturist to help address chronic stress and regular bouts of anxiety, these are common pressure points:

  • Heavenly Rejuvenation – midway between the base of the neck and shoulder
  • Heavenly Pillar – base of the skull
  • Crooked Marsh – inside of the arm
  • Spirit Gate – inner side of the wrist crease
  • Third Eye Point – between the eyebrows
  • Sea of Tranquility – Upper part of the rib cage, between the breasts
  • Mind Root – inside the hairline
  • Shu Mansion – under the collarbone

Yet as much as stress and anxiety are major factors in our health and quality of life, acupuncture can also help improve your daily life by ensuring better digestion – the hidden but major factor in your health and vitality.

The stomach is a vital body organ that you should take care of at all times. It is the foundation of one’s health.

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4. Acupuncture for Better Digestion

A lot of health problems derive from poor digestion or microbiome problems.

Yet few people realize just how important our gut is to our health and mood. The digestive system also determines your metabolic rate.

In Chinese medicine, it is believed that if a person’s stomach is strong, then he or she will live life healthily. If it is weak, then he will be at high risk for many diseases.

Western experts also state that the proper digestion of food is the key to a long and healthy life.

There are several dozen digestive disorders known to man today. And many of them start from improper digestion overlooked for a prolonged period.

Acupuncture can address digestive issues by stimulating the liver Qi and initiating the release of certain helpful enzymes, minerals, and bacteria in the stomach. Altogether, these chemicals regulate the smooth processes of the digestive system.

Through regular acupuncture therapy, the endocrine system is regulated and hyperactivity in the nervous system is calmed.

Acupuncture nourishes the digestive organs as well.

It reduces the inflammation in the stomach and pancreas. As a result, food is broken down easily, waste is eliminated smoothly, and all nutrients are absorbed quickly.

Common Causes of Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders occur because of these factors, which regular Acupuncture therapy can help to prevent:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Chronic medical conditions
  • Dehydration
  • Inflammation of the digestive tract
  • Nutritional deficiency or excess
  • Poor diet
  • Stress

Medical Evidence

There is much evidence showing how acupuncture can address certain digestive tract issues such as inflammatory bowel disease, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal influx, among others.

In a study published in the American Journal of Physiology, it was reported that the stimulation of certain acupuncture points prevents acid reflux by as much as 40%.

Some of the symptoms of digestive disorders that acupuncture has been shown to address include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain

Which happen to also be related to acupuncture’s great help in supporting patients undergoing cancer treatments, and the resulting side-effects.

A Rabbit’s Story

On a surprising note, here’s a story of the positive effects of acupuncture on the pet rabbit owned by Jodi McLaughlin, a holistic animal health provider. One day, her rabbit Diego was having digestive issues. It suddenly become lethargic, wouldn’t eat, and suffered from diarrhea.

Jodi gave her pet bunny a massage between the eyes and then swept along the jaw line. Then she ran her fingers over its face to the tips of its ears. These actions were done repetitively as therapy. Soon enough, his digestive system started to run smoothly again.

Obviously, acupuncture works not only on humans but on animals as well. That is also the reason why clinical tests can be carried out on animal subjects, so as to prove the efficacy of this healing method… just as Western medicine starts on animal subjects.

Better Digestion Acupuncture Points

These points are commonly focused on when treating digestive disorders through acupuncture:

  • Union Valley – between the index finger and the thumb
  • Crooked Pond – top of the elbow crease
  • Outer Gate Point – above the wrist crease
  • Inner Gate Point – above the wrist crease
  • Three Point Mile – outer edge of the leg
  • Grandfather-Grandson – inner side of the foot
  • Three Yin Crossing – inner ankle bone
  • Great Rushing – between the big and second toes
  • Middle Cavity – between the breast bone and belly button

You can even try to stimulate these points yourself with pressure if you are suffering from digestive disorders.

And a smoothly running gut will not only help you physically but mentally as well. There’s no question why they call the gut the second brain – there’s a strong connection between the digestive system and mood and even brain fog.

Which brings us to mental clarity…

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5. Acupuncture for Improving Mental Clarity

Acupuncture can even enhance one’s focus and mental clarity for a sharper memory and faster decision-making.

We can all use a clearer mind.

(including students!)

So how does Chinese medicine see it?

To achieve a clearer mind, acupuncture influences the functions of the spirit or the Shen. The Shen embodies one’s consciousness, thought, and emotions. It also contributes to the extent of one’s wisdom. It oversees all kinds of mental activity and creative functions as well.

When the Shen is unbalanced, the end result will be confusion, clouded thinking, and poor memory.

It would give rise to other health issues such as anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia, as well.

Note how all of these were previously discussed.

Needless to say, almost all of the functions of the rest of the body are highly influenced by the mind. It is therefore important that its health is preserved at all times.

Acupuncture improves the flow of the Qi to the brain, thus making sure that the organs that influence our intellect work in perfect harmony with each other.

The heart, kidney, and spleen have to act as one in order to nourish, stimulate, and calm the spirit and the brain. With the Qi flowing efficiently, our brain can process information and respond to external stimuli effortlessly.

Mental Health Risk Factors

Certain conditions increase your risk of reduced brain functions. Some of the conditions below directly affect the performance of the brain. If you suffer from any of such conditions, acupuncture may help you.

  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral, mood, and personality disorders
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychological Trauma
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

Medical Advances

A study published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine further explored the effectiveness of acupuncture for mental clarity.

Scientists tried to associate Tefillin, an ancient Jewish prayer ritual that uses two small leather boxes for healing. They put the Tefillin boxes on the acupuncture points that raise spiritual consciousness.

Their purpose is to improve the subject’s spirit and clear his mind. The combination of these two systems- the acupuncture and the boxes- proved to create the expected positive effect. They achieved measurable clarity of mind and a sense of harmonized spirit for the test subject.

Patient Testimonials

The patients of several acupuncturists from all over the country have reported to have experienced better mental clarity as an after-effect of their therapy.

Most of them come to an acupuncture office for an entirely different set of issues, and then walk away feeling more confident, healthy, and happy as a bonus.

At least that was what Elise V. experienced after consulting with an acupuncturist from Bellevue, reporting her experience on Yelp. Another patient, Andrea G., claimed that acupuncture worked better for her than any other anti-depressant to clear her mind.

Acupuncture Points for Mental Clarity

To achieve mental clarity, acupuncturists focus on the following points. Whenever you feel that your mind needs to take a break, you can apply light pressure on these points to help as well.

  • One Hundred Meeting – back of the top of the head
  • Sun Point – outside of the eyebrows
  • Gates of Consciousness – base of the skull
  • Heavenly Pillar – below the base of the skull
  • Third Eye Point – between the eyebrows
  • Middle of a Person – between upper lip and nose
  • Sea of Tranquility – upper part of the ribcage between the breasts
  • Three Point Mile – outer edge of the leg
  • Bigger Rushing – on top of the foot

A Holistic Practice for Simply Living Better Every Day

All of these acupuncture benefits are backed up with clinical tests performed by scientists from different parts of the world.

As acupuncture improves the quality of your life, you start making the most of your daily life. That translates to better relationships, an improved career performance, and a more fulfilled sense of well-being.

While admittedly, there are still some struggles between acupuncture remedies and Western medicine, there’s really no harm in trying the former. Alternative medicine is not known to cause adverse side effects on a person.

Often people feel the affects from the first session.

Many can’t wait to get back and experience it again.

Others treat pronounced and chronic conditions over the their treatments sessions. In fact, many come to acupuncture when they’ve run out of options and aren’t resolving their health issue.

Everyone is encouraged to make acupuncture a regular therapy to prevent ordinary illnesses and a wide range of health issues.

The ultimate goal of this Chinese healing method is to preserve and improve the way you live every day of your life.

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References

  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/acupuncture/article.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156618/
  3. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/insomnia
  4. https://blog.bulletproof.com/how-to-cure-insomnia-with-acupuncture/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20862932
  6. http://www.meassociation.org.uk/2008/03/she-magazine-acupuncture-and-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/
  7. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-03/gumc-sos031113.php
  8. http://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/present-research/digestive-system-and-metabolism/
  9. http://animalwellnessguide.com/massage-and-acupressure-treatment-for-rabbit-digestion/
  10. http://www.koshertorah.com/PDF/tefilin.pdf

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